Lady Techsters take on No. 5 Hawaii Rainbow Wahine

September 30, 2010

by Anna Claire Thomas

The Lady Techster volleyball team is looking to rebound from two tough losses in the conference openers against New Mexico State and make a statement with a win over No. 5-ranked Hawaii.

The Techsters continue conference play Friday night at 7 p.m. in the Thomas Assembly Center against Western Athletic Conference foe and nationally-ranked Hawaii. The Techsters have lost two straight matches to New Mexico State and posted an 0-2 conference record and 9-7 overall record.

While Tech has mastered the non-conference schedule with hardly a blemish, head coach Matt Sonnichsen is wary of the challenges facing his squad.

“The WAC is an extremely challenging conference to be a part of,” Sonnichsen said. “Beyond the travel, the style of play is very competitive year in and year out between all of the teams, which makes it hard to build a program being surrounded by so many volleyball powerhouses.”

Sonnichsen believes that his team will be tested more in their first four games of the conference schedule than they have been all year.

“It’s always tough to play the best teams out of the gate,” Sonnichsen said. “The good news is that we’ll be tested early and really learn the character of the team very early on in the conference schedule.”

After opening play with a loss against New Mexico State at home Sept. 23, the Techsters traveled to New Mexico to face the Aggies the following Saturday, and now they face their toughest test of the season thus far in Hawaii.

With such a back-and-forth road schedule on tap for the Bulldogs, Coach Sonnichsen will rely heavily on senior leadership from senior outside hitter Taylor Fritz and senior outside hitter Jennifer Goodwin to get the Techsters back on track.

“Taylor and Jennifer are really great role models for some of our younger players,” Sonnichsen said. “They’ve been here long enough to understand the system, and they both bring a solid level of intensity and intelligence to our team along with our other upperclassmen.”

Coach Sonnichsen said he believes what his team lacks in size and athleticism, they are guaranteed to make-up for in determination.

“We don’t have the team make-up to overwhelm teams, but we outlast a lot of our opponents because of our ability to win long rallies,” Sonnichsen said. “We’re a little bit smaller height-wise, but we are able to win a lot of matches with great ball control. We like to keep pressure on the opponent and lure them into making bad plays, and that has allowed us to be successful so far this season, and we’re looking to continue that.”

Aramark will provide free chips and drinks to fans who come out Friday night to support the Lady Techsters. There will also be special giveaways throughout the match. The game will be a tough contender for the Techsters, as they were swept in Las Cruces, N.M., by WAC?contender New Mexico State.

A win at home against No. 5 Hawaii would lift the spirits of Tech volleyball fans and the team after their last loss Sept. 23 at home.

E-mail comments to act013@latech.edu.