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Stanislaus volleyball seeking better year with younger team
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Blair Ehrlich will be a key contributor to the Cal State Stanislaus volleyball teams success this upcoming season as an incoming freshman from San Diego. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ / The Journal

Despite a rugged 2012 season that resulted in a 9-21 overall record, the CSU Stanislaus volleyball team looks at 2013 as a possible turnaround year with plenty of talent across the board — relying on only two upperclassmen, a handful of sophomore stars, and 10 incoming freshman.

“Obviously, we want to improve our overall record. But the difference between this year and last is a competitive attitude and we're hoping to increase on that, especially on our player to player communication due to the young team we have and relationships, which is key ,” assistant coach Lianne Vicchio said.

Some upsides to the team this year will be key returners, Kendal Munoz and Jordan Harris, who will be playing in the middle after an outstanding freshman year in which they contributed for over 144 kills in over 25 minutes per game played.

Tiffany Isel and Jaclyn Pinasco are the only upperclassmen on the team as the duo seniors return to lead their squad.

“Tiffany and Jaclyn are the seniors and DS’s,” Vicchio said. “We are very young, but we still have a lot of talent.”

As freshman, Taylor Massengale will be playing the middle and Blair Ehrlich will be an outside hitter. Both are expected to make an immediate impact on a squad that lacks experience with no juniors and only two seniors on the roster.

“Improving overall will be huge and I think the entire incoming freshmen bring a fresh vibe/excitement and it should be fun; sort of a reset button for us,” Vicchio said.

With a 6-16 record in the California Collegiate Athletic Association last season, the Warriors were tied in conference with Cal State Monterey Bay for second to last place with only Humboldt holding a worse record of 1-21.

Nine teams had a better conference record than the Warriors, including 10 teams with 12 or more wins.

“Our main goal is finishing in the top five since we can move on to regionals that way,” Vicchio said. “That is always a goal we establish and verbalize with the team; it is just about setting the goals and how to get there step by step. In our team meeting we began to set goals for preseason, first round and specific tournaments.”

The Stanislaus volleyball team will host its alumni game at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Ed & Bertha Fitzpatrick Arena. Their official home opener will be against Holy Names at 5 p.m. Aug. 30.