Aztecs head North Searching for First Victory

by Staff

Women’s volleyball team struggling with inexperience, hoping to right the ship By Willie Bans, Staff WriterThe quest for the San Diego State volleyball team’s first winwill continue this weekend when it heads to Fresno to participate inthe five-team Fresno State Invitational, with matches against theUniversity of San Francisco, Fresno State and Oral Roberts.

After an 0-7 start, the Aztecs are not jumping off the boatjust yet – they feel confident that a positive attitude andcontinued hard work will eventually produce the first victory.

“We can’t look back. We have to approach each game with thefeeling that we can win, and I think we all believe that,” saidsophomore outside hitter Melissa Stapley, who is leading the team inkills.

SDSU will certainly have its chance to start over against theUSF Dons (3-6) 12:30 p.m. Friday. The Dons are on a losing streak oftheir own, having lost all three matches at the Stanford Invitationallast weekend.

The Aztecs will have to look out for USF’s senior outsidehitter Stephanie Voelckers, who leads the team in kills (134, 4.19kills per game) and is second in digs (101, 3.16 digs per game).However, the Dons are much like SDSU in that they are young, onlyreturning one starter from last years’ 23-8 squad that made the NCAAtournament.

Friday’s action doesn’t stop after the second game against USF,as the Aztecs will take on the host Bulldogs (4-3) later at 7:30.Senior outside hitter Kristen Fenton will be a key factor indetermining the outcome. The honorable mention all-American tied theprevious national record with 41 kills in a match last year.

SDSU will close the weekend with a final match against OralRoberts (2-6) 6 p.m. Saturday. The Golden Eagles, who had theirstreak of six consecutive Mid-Con Tournament titles stopped lastyear, also head into this weekend on a losing streak.

ORU is on a four-match skid after opening the year at 2-2, butlooks to have an advantage over the Aztecs in experience with all itssix returning starters.

SDSU is coming off a heartbreaking 3-2 loss at the hands ofJames Madison last Saturday. It looked like it was finally going toget a win when it was ahead 2-0 and was in the driver’s seat. But,the youth and inconsistencies caught up with the Aztecs, losing thenext three games and coming away empty handed.

“We’re going to really push them now and see how they respond,”said head coach Mark Warner. “I think we played some really goodvolleyball but we have to work on some more things so we can startgetting some wins.”

Warner said there would be more emphasis on quality passing andsetting in practice, aspects he believes are crucial to finish outgames.

He also said that senior outside hitter Kara Moriarty, SDSU’scaptain and leader of the team, is doing tremendously well in herrehabilitation from an abdominal strain suffered in a Sept. 9 gameagainst Texas Tech.

Warner said she has been responding well to hitting drills andcould be ready to play in two weeks.