SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Cosumnes River volleyball team has gone through their share of growing pains early on this 2013 campaign.  The Hawks field a young and talented roster that is still growing together as a unit.  Despite recent setbacks, CRC looks to continue to grow and develop, and will look to be successful in today's doubleheader.

In preparation for today's matches, assistant coach Natalie Wells admits the team doesn't know much about their opponents as it's early in the season, so the team has been focused on improving their play.  "We don't know a ton about the teams we are playing tomorrow (other) than they're competitive," Wells said last night following CRC's student-athlete welcome night.  "I know that the last few games (with losses) have been mentally taxing, so we are trying to work on that aspect of the game."

Following a pair of convincing victories over Los Medanos and West Hills to open the CRC Classic, the Hawks have struggled, losing consecutive matches to Hartnell and Lassen in matches where CRC never quite got going.  "We have been working on speeding up practice lately and (putting the team) in situations that they have to rely on each other and communicate more."

Coach Wells believes the team's youth and inexperience have been a factor early on, so the staff has been spending as much time on the team's mental preparation as the team's skill development.  "With our team being rather young and our mental game lacking, we have been reading and discussing the book 'Mind Game' to build our mental game as much as our physical game," said Wells.  "The tough loss to Lassen was exactly that… a tough mental loss."  The Hawks failed to win a game in the match, falling 3-0 on Wednesday afternoon.  "We beat ourselves and couldn't pull ourselves out of the hole."

The team has been dealing with some injury issues as well, as Ashley Ramirez continues to be sidelined due to back issues, and sophomore setter Laura Villano will be out of today's action as well.  Fellow sophomore Gabi Hinz will be a gametime decision.  "We are working through some physical and emotional things right now," admitted Wells of the team.  However, Coach Wells and her staff remain confident that the team is continuing to develop, and will grow from these experiences.

The Hawks will host a "mini-tournament" this afternoon, and are slated to play two matches against a pair of quality opponents from northern California.  CRC will kick things off against Siskiyous in the noon opener, before closing out the event against De Anza at 4 PM.  General admission is $6, $4 for visiting students with ID, and $2 for senior citizens (over 60) and children 8-12.  Admission is free for CRC students, faculty, and staff with valid ID.  Children under eight are also admitted free of charge.