On the surface, it was yet another loss, and another straight-sets loss at that.
But for the very young Cal State Stanislaus women’s volleyball team, Saturday’s 25-22, 25-20, 25-19 loss at ninth-ranked Cal State San Bernardino, while not a reason to celebrate, gave the Warriors hope for the future.
And Stanislaus, which has been on the road for eight of its 10 matches this season, will have the chance to build on that hope this week by playing three times within the familiar confines of Fitzpatrick Arena.
“San Bernardino is a very good team, and we went into the match trying to stick to our game plan,” Warriors coach Christina Lore said. “We hung in there very well. Sure, the team wanted to win and we came up short on that end, but it was another lesson for us to learn.”
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Stanislaus (1-9 overall, 1-5 California Collegiate Athletic Association) hosts Chico State (5-5, 3-3) tonight, then meets Cal State Los Angeles (7-2, 5-1) on Friday and Cal State Dominguez Hills (1-9, 0-6) on Saturday.
Lore believes she has a core group of players to help Stanislaus move up in the CCAA, but she faces recruiting issues prevalent throughout Division II athletics. In short, elite local players who could be stars in Division II often chase their Division I dreams, even though that might mean sitting on the bench at the higher level.
“There are a lot of good local players,” Lore said. “And because we’re Division II, sometimes we’re not the first choice of those players. Girls will go to lower-level Division I programs and sit, while if they had chosen Division II, they would have played a lot.
“And a lot of that has to do with the club system. There’s a lot of money there, and because their parents have put a lot of money into their development, they want to get their money out through scholarships. Full rides in Division I are rare, and in Division II, they hardly exist at all.”
While the Warriors continue to struggle to get out of the lower half of the CCAA standings, their younger players are getting experience. Against San Bernardino, every Stanislaus player on the court was a freshman or sophomore.
“If we’re playing that well now, it can only get better for the future,” Lore said. “This year, we’re already getting two more kills per set in conference play, and that’s huge for us. We had a lot of kids come in this year, and when you do that, you have to work a lot just on your systems.”
Men’s soccer – Speaking of young squads, coach Dana Taylor’s Warriors (3-3-2, 1-0-1) continue to battle and improve while adjusting to the program’s new emphasis on attacking.
That push-forward style has allowed Stanislaus to outshoot its opponents 158-87, but the Warriors have outscored the opposition only 9-7.
“We’ve only been outshot in one game,” Taylor said. “We’re playing a much more exciting brand of soccer, getting forward and creating lots of opportunities. Our back line has thrown in 200 minutes of scoreless ball, so we’re making strides, and it’s exciting to see.”
Stanislaus will be tested Friday by Humboldt State (6-1-1, 2-0), which won overtime games at Cal State East Bay and Sonoma State last weekend. Sonoma (6-3-0, 1-1) then comes to Warrior Stadium on Sunday. The Seawolves were ranked No. 9 in the West Region in the most recent poll.
Taylor’s claim that his team is more exciting might sound a little like a contradiction when viewed against the fact only 16 total goals have been scored in his team’s eight games, but his Warriors are leading the CCAA in shots on goal. It’s now a matter of converting those scoring chances at a higher rate, and Sunday’s 2-0 win at Cal State Monterey Bay was a positive moment.
“Part of the problem always is putting the right guys in right spots, and we’re constantly working on combinations,” Taylor said. “We took a step in the right direction (last) weekend.”
Women’s soccer – After dropping their first match of the season Sunday at Monterey Bay, getting blanked in a regular-season game for the first time in nearly three years, the third-ranked Warriors (8-1, 1-1) get right back into the fire of CCAA play.
First, they host Humboldt (6-2, 1-1), which split during its CCAA opening weekend, beating East Bay 3-2 before losing 2-1 at Sonoma. But the big match is Sunday, when unbeaten Sonoma State (9-0, 2-0) visits Warrior Stadium.
The Seawolves, ranked No. 9 in the nation, opened the season with six shutout wins, then opened CCAA play at home last weekend by defeating Monterey Bay 3-2 and Humboldt.
Jade Poon continues to lead Stanislaus and the CCAA in scoring with nine goals. The Warriors have outshot their opponents 144-57.