SONORA, Calif. – Early season competition can prove difficult for team's that rely heavily on scouting an opponent. There's a very small sample size, and as team's only have a handful of contests under their belt, preparation for specific teams can prove to be a daunting task. This doesn't worry CRC volleyball assistant coach Natalie Wells, as she prepares her team to take on Columbia College on the road this evening.
"As far as today's match goes we know nothing about the other team and I think that is perfect," says Wells of the matchup. "I am trying to teach the girls to focus on what we are doing and how we are executing things on our side of the court, rather than worrying (about) who the opponent is." Wells cites hall of fame basketball coach John Wooden as she discusses her team's singular focus for tonight's contest. "If we do our best, win or lose I will be proud and that is something that I am trying to instill in these ladies." "Going into this game I am convinced that we will try and do just that, our best; and if we do that we will be successful."
The Hawks are looking to build off a strong showing in the 4th College of Alameda Classic last week. CRC defeated Mendocino 3-0 in the opener, before falling 3-0 to Ohlone in the finale. "(One) of the top performers from Alameda who I will be looking to is Gabi Hinz." "I will be looking to her for consistency and just being able to execute," said Wells of her sophomore outside hitter.
She also had positive things to say of her pair of sophomore setters. "Setters Candice Bohlmann and Laura Villano will be running our offense today and they have been working on a few things." "(We're) looking to them to run our court efficiently and with authority," says Wells. "The setters are like our quarterbacks of the court so I will be looking to those two for leadership as well as Gabi." Coach Wells was also encouraged with the early returns from freshman libero Samantha DaVeggio (pictured right). "Sam was a force in the back row so I am excited because she is aggressive and goes after the ball... nothing is a dead ball (until) it truly is one, to her."
Cosumnes River is still working on its lineups early in the season, having been hampered by injuries in the opening weeks of the 2013 season. Coach Wells will look to implement a 6-2 formation this match, with sophomore setter Bohlmann as a hitter. "Hopefully we will be able to keep consistency and leadership on the court more often with her playing all the way around," says Wells of the adjustments. "I may try some different tweaks of the line ups, but (we're) still trying to find the six that work the best together, and in the right match-ups to make everything work."
The Hawks will return from Sonora this week, as they play host to the Cosumnes River Classic tournament this Friday. CRC is slated to play Los Medanos in the opener, with that match scheduled to begin at 2. They'll then take on West Hills and Hartnell at 4 and 6 PM, respectively.