When Daryn Glenn signed to play volleyball at UNLV, she figured she would spend the better part of her freshman year sitting on the bench.
Rebels coach Cindy Fredrick can't afford to let that happen.
Fredrick's squad dropped three straight matches last weekend to open the season, but the coach said she definitely saw some things she liked. Among the most promising developments was the play of Glenn, a 6-foot outside hitter from Corona, Calif.
"Daryn absolutely played fearlessly," said Fredrick, whose squad dropped matches to Colorado, Northern Colorado and UC Davis in the Hampton Inn & Suites Classic at Greeley, Colo. "We placed her on the left side, then moved her to the right side. She was going after hits like it was nobody's business."
Glenn, who came to UNLV knowing that upperclassmen usually get most of the playing time, said she made her collegiate debut Friday with some apprehension.
"When I first got out on the court, I was a little nervous," she said. "Once we started playing, I got comfortable, and I think I did pretty good."
Glenn finished the weekend with 25 kills and 22 digs, making a believer out of her coach.
"Right now, we're trying to come up with a consistent, solid lineup," said Fredrick, a first-year coach who inherited just one senior. "Daryn will be in there all the time. She's mostly likely going to be our right-side hitter."
The journey that led Glenn into the starting lineup began while she was playing prep volleyball for Corona's Roosevelt High. She visited Las Vegas several times to participate in camps put on by former Rebels coach Allison Keeley.
"I got close to some of the coaches," she said, "and they recruited me."
Though Fredrick had nothing to do with the recruiting process, she was immediately impressed by Glenn's style of play.
"We watched her and said, 'Yes, we want her,' " the coach said. "Her work ethic is absolutely incredible."
It didn't seem like a positive thing at the time, but Glenn had the good fortune of playing for a mediocre high school team.
"I learned a lot in high school," she said. "My team wasn't that good, so I was basically a leader."
And that's just what Frederick needs. With the youngest roster in the Mountain West Conference, the coach is looking for players willing to step up to fill the shoes of last year's graduating seniors.
Though she knows she has a lot to learn, Glenn understands the Rebels are going through an experimentation period, and she said she thinks the team will be competitive when league play begins Sept. 23 against visiting San Diego State.
"We can be successful," she said. "We've gotten so much better. If we keep working hard, we can really be an amazing team."
Fredrick agreed but explained that fans will have to be patient.
"It's going to take a little time," she said. "It's not what we wanted, but they will get better. We just need to work on being more confident and aggressive. If we can do that, we're going to be OK."
The Rebels will compete this weekend in the Texas Tech Invitational in Lubbock. They open the tournament at 8 a.m. (PDT) Friday against Central Arkansas.