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The Observer

Volleyball heads for the border to face off against SFU

Micah Chen, Staff Reporter

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CWU Volleyball is at the midway point of their season. They currently hold an overall record of 14-3, and are tied for second place in the GNAC.

Kyla Morgan, a 5-foot-4 junior defender, believes the team can win the GNAC this season.

“I think we all have a lot of trust in each other,” Morgan said. “We’re working well together, and we’re playing hard in practice.”

They have a big trial this Saturday, when they travel to Burnaby, British Columbia to play conference rival Simon Fraser.

In their first matchup this season, CWU pulled out a comfortable 3-1 victory at home. Head coach Mario Andaya understands what kind of opponent they’re going up against in Simon Fraser.

“They’re a good team,” Andaya said. “They’re really good offensively, they put up the same offensive numbers that we do… There’s a lot of offensive weapons we have to be aware of.”

Because they’ve already played Simon Fraser this season, the team now has film to look back on to improve their chances of winning.

Morgan says that they watch the tapes twice and use what they see to make rotations and decide what to work on during practice.

One thing that has helped the Wildcats this season is playing against Division I opponent Portland State University (PSU). They may have lost their first game of the season to PSU, but they learned a lot from that match-up.

According to 6-foot outside hitter Madison Weg, playing against a Division I opponent taught them to go against any opponent with no fear. Rather than worry about what’s happening on the other side of the net, Weg focuses on her teammates and how they can play their game.

Since losing that first game to PSU, they have since claimed victories in 13 of their last 15 games. Their sole loss was to Western Washington University (WWU),  the only team left in the GNAC with an undefeated conference record.

Weg says that the key to defeating Simon Fraser is going to be penetrating their tough defense. It’s been an emphasis they’ve put on their game plan every time they faced the Clan. Extending rallies is a great a way for Weg and her teammates to accomplish this.

Right now, senior Shelby Mauritson leads the team in kills with 236. A kill is an attack by a player that is not returnable by the receiving player on the opposing team and leads directly to a point or loss of rally.

Junior Gabrielle Aihara is also having an impressive season with the team leading 696 attacks. To put that number in perspective, the second closest teammate is Sarah Absalonson with 46 attacks.

Overall, Andaya is excited with the direction the season is headed.

“I like the way we’re getting better ,” Andaya said. “If we can expect something throughout the year, it’s us getting better everyday and that’s what we’re seeing in the gym.”

Andaya also pointed out that the younger players are becoming more comfortable with his system, and the veterans are continuing to challenge themselves to evolve their games.

Right now Simon Fraser is fourth in the GNAC volleyball standings. The volleyball season is getting close to the stretch run, so this will be a chance for the Clan to position themselves better for the playoffs.

The Wildcats will play the Clan in Burnaby, British Columbia,  Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. Visiting student admission is  $5, while general admission is $10. This is an opportunity to see two of the top five teams in the GNAC compete.

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Volleyball heads for the border to face off against SFU