Davenport proves fundamental as UAA setter

After the departure of former All-American setter Morgan Hooe in May 2017 and previous setter Madison Fisher in October 2017, the spot for a UAA setter was left wide open. Freshman Casey Davenport, who stands at just 5-feet-6-inches tall, was fortunate enough to be next in line to take over that role for the team.

“Casey is a talented setter with very good hands, she’s [helping] to fill the big void left by the graduation of Morgan Hooe. She is a relatively smaller setter but with a solid vertical jump,” head coach Chris Green said.

With seven years of experience, Davenport is adequately prepared for the position.

“I started playing volleyball in seventh grade. My older sister had started playing the year before me and I always followed in her footsteps when I was younger,” Davenport said.

Originally from Washington, the former Auburn Mountainview High School student made many significant accomplishments during her four years playing for the school. These skills are all ones that she brought with her up to Alaska.

“The first time I visited Alaska was in the summer and it was so beautiful. I loved it but it wasn’t until I came the second time and stayed with some of the girls that I really decided I wanted to play here,” Davenport said. “I loved the atmosphere that the team had; everyone seemed so close, like a family. Also UAA’s gym is the best I’ve seen by far, so that was a bonus.”

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Freshman setter Casey Davenport sets up the play for her teammates during a home match at the Alaska Airlines Center. Photo credit: Skip Hickey

During her 2016 senior year, Davenport played a role in helping her team obtain a 20-6 record. With the work she put into the team, they were able to make it to the Washington 4A State Tournament placing fifth overall, where Davenport maintained 9.6 assists per set. This was only slightly more than her season average of 8.8 assists per set her junior year.

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Due to achievements, Davenport managed to make second-team All-South Puget Sound League selection as sophomore.

As for her collegiate season, Davenport has made many more significant achievements playing as the main setter. Through the 87 sets total that she has played in, Davenport has made a total of 40 kills, which ranks her seventh on the Seawolves. She has also accumulated 168 digs and 66 points over the past two months.

“Playing as a freshman has not been easy at times, but it is well worth it. The opportunity that I have been given this year is not common and it definitely has a lot of pressure, but I enjoy the challenge,” Davenport said.

Her accumulation of 519 assists is her most significant achievement, ranking her as number one on the Seawolves. Not only did this put her at No. 1 in UAA, but also puts her at seventh overall and 11th for assists per set in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

Averages of assists per sets puts Davenport at the top of two of the three categories. For a 3-set match, she sits at second tied with Fisher for 19 assists, for a 4-set match, Davenport takes the lead with 44 assists and for a 5-set match, she also takes the lead with 53 assists.

Green and the rest of the team is impressed with Davenport’s ability and quick adaptation to the high-stress role of being a setter. During their Oct. 26 game versus Central Washington, the relatively quick 4-set match exemplified Davenport’s skills to gain 42 assists.

“We looked slow at the outset [that night], but we started playing our kind of volleyball about midway thought the second set and continued for the rest of the match,” Green said. “Casey did a nice job of distributing the ball among our hitters and keeping SMU off balance, and she used great judgment when choosing to attack.”

In addition to athletics, Davenport is expected to excel off the court too, while pursuing her degree in health science.

“My dream from a very young age has been to become a veterinarian and that is what I hope to pursue in the future,” Davenport said.