SACRAMENTO, Calif.- The Cosumnes River volleyball team has placed a premium on mental preparation as much as physical preparation this season, and that focus is beginning to pay off for the players and staff.  CRC continues to grow, and develop as a unit, putting together an impressive performance this week against Sierra on the road.  The Hawks look to continue to improve tonight, when they play host to the visiting Mustangs of Delta College.

Rarely do volleyball teams find satisfaction in 3-0 losses to conference foes.  However, the CRC volleyball staff realizes player development is part of the process, as the Hawks look to reestablish themselves as a contender in the Big 8.  "First and foremost I think that (Wednesday's) game was an eye opening experience," said assistant coach Natalie Wells.  "The team that was present games one and three is the team that I want to be there consistently."  The Hawks stormed out of the gates in the first game, playing Sierra close from the start.  "We came out ready to go, whether we were leading,  tied, or just a few back ,I think the girls were able to shake mistakes off and they were ready to make the next point better," said Wells.  "Those attributes are the ones that I want to see on the court all the time."

The second game was more difficult for a Hawks team as Sierra, historically one of the strongest teams in the conference, seized control early on to take the second game.  CRC returned to form, playing the Wolverines tight again before falling late in the game.  "From this game I am excited to see where we go and think we can go from here," said Wells with respect to the remainder of the team's Big 8 conference schedule.  "From a coaching perspective, we are ready to go and we are excited, because the girls actually competed and showed what we could do and that they have been holding back."  "Hopefully they realize that more often and just go out and compete."

The team has a difficult test tonight as CRC hosts the Mustangs in their conference home opener.  Delta, usually one of the top three or four teams in the conference, will be a good benchmark for the team to test their response to adversity following Wednesday's loss.  However, as this season has proven, anything is possible in the Big 8 conference.  "I am encouraged to see that (Delta is) in the middle of the pack because that shows that with hard work anyone can move within our conference," said Wells with respect to the Big 8 standings.  Delta is currently coming off a loss to American River.

The coaching staff is hopeful the Hawks will rebound, and play more consistently, putting together competitive sets without "taking any off."  "Hopefully tomorrow will be a competitive match with us coming out ready to go, and wanting to fight, making Delta earn every point that they get."  "Something that we as a team have been working on as of late is really trying to minimize the amount of runs we allow or give to another team."

Assistant coach Natalie Wells has made it a point in practice to change the team's approach to their matches.  "Something that I noticed during our match (at Sierra) is that we have to break our match into five sets of five."  "We become too overwhelmed about getting to 25 and how that looks, so we are encouraging our girls to break them down into sets of five."  Wells says she hopes this assists the team in remaining in control during their matches, and fighting and striving to shake off mistakes, since they are only playing five points at a time.

Tonight's match is scheduled for 6:30.  Tickets are $6 for general admission, $4 for seniors, and $2 for children.  Admission is always free for CRC students, staff and faculty.  Concessions will be available to purchase at the event.