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Stanislaus womens volleyball looks to defy low expectations
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Kaycee Gow (left) serves the ball while teammate Nicki Brown looks on during a recent practice at Warrior Arena. - photo by CHHUN SUN / The Journal

A quick glance at the Cal State Stanislaus volleyball team roster suggests that the Warriors will have another long season, considering there’s only three seniors available and everyone else are underclassmen, including seven sophomores and five freshmen. But this bunch has something to say about that.

“This year, there’s a lot of veterans,” coach Christina Lore said.

Last year’s team was heavy with freshmen. But those freshmen have returned with experience and an understanding of the competitiveness that lives in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, which boasts nearly a handful of top 25 teams in the country. This group of Warriors says this is a new season, though the past still haunts them.

In 2009, Stanislaus went 10-20 overall and 4-18 in the conference.

In this year’s preseason coaches poll, the Warriors were picked to finish last in the CCAA out of 12 teams.

But again, the Warriors know they play in one of the toughest conferences in the nation. The American Volleyball Coaches Association lists four CCAA teams — NCAA Division II National Championship semifinalist Cal State San Bernardino, UC San Diego, Cal State L.A. and Sonoma State — in its first national top 25 poll.

“The conference is what the conference is,” Lore said. “There’s no other conference like that and we’re going up against that.”

For this season, the Warriors have 13 returners, and eight of them were starters during the 2009 campaign. They also look to speed up their offense with players who know the system well, as one of the key players will be Janay Bankston, a Denair High graduate who is entering her sophomore year as an outside hitter.

But the key returner is junior captain Lianne Vicchio, who finished last season with 15 double-doubles and 362 kills.

Despite all the low rankings, the Warriors are confident heading into the 2010 season.

“We’re very low in the rankings,” Vicchio said. “Every year we are, every year we fight. I’m just confident in the players we have.”

To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.