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POSTED: Thursday, August 20, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
THU 17p.m.@Louisiana Tech (away)
SAT 37p.m.@New Mexico State (away)
THU 87p.m.Nevada (home)
FRI 97p.m.San Jose State (home)
MON 12 Columbus Day
SAT 177p.m.New Mexico State (home)
FRI 235p.m.Alumnae match (home)
 7p.m.BYU-Hawaii
THU 297p.m.@Fresno State (away)
SAT 31 Halloween
 7p.m.@Nevada (away)

 

               

     

 

AGGIES: RIVALRY REDUX?

        New Mexico State (26-9, 15-1): The Aggies lost four starters from a team that stunned the Wahine in three at the Stan Sheriff Center during the regular season and shared the WAC title with Hawaii (although NMSU doesn't acknowledge Hawaii as a co-champ in its news releases).
       

Back are preseason All-WAC picks Krista Altermatt, a senior hitter, and senior middle Kelli Goodan. The Aggies have a sophomore and two freshman setters vying for the starting spot. The biggest void needing to be filled will be at libero, where Krystal Torres was superb the past four seasons. A leading candidate is New Mexico transfer Kelsi Phillips.

       

“;We're athletic and our skill level still has a way to go,”; NMSU coach Mike Jordan said after the first day of practice last week. “;We have a lot of younger players on the team with a lot of talent, but these first couple of weeks will be a learning experience.”;

       

The Aggies received an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament and won their first-ever postseason match. It could be another year or two before they get back to that level. They may struggle to finish second in the WAC this season.

       

 

       

 

               

     

 

SEASIDERS: IS THIS A GOOD IDEA?

        Wilfred Navalta, the winningest coach in NCAA Division II (538-115) always puts a very competitive team on the court. How competitive? The last time the Seasiders played Hawaii (1998), the Wahine - with All-American Heather Bown - had to rally in Games 4 and 5 to eke out a 3-2 victory. That match conjured up visions - all bad for Hawaii - of the 1992 meeting with BYUH. The Seasiders upset the hobbling Wahine 3-1 in Klum Gym. BYUH went on to its fourth NAIA championship in seven years, while Hawaii stayed home for what remains the Wahine's lone absence from the NCAA tournament. BYUH is the defending PacWest champ.
       

 

       

 

               

     

 

WAHINE NOTES

        LaTech (4-24, 0-16): Coach Matt Sonnichsen is hoping for a quick fix for a program that has gone a combined 1-47 the past three WAC seasons.
       

Bringing some experience to the Lady Techsters are three junior college transfers and one from Houston.

       

LaTech has some height, in returning middles KC Clayton (6-1) and Samantha Crowder (6-2), but the Lady Techsters will be hard-pressed to make it to the WAC tournament.

       

Nevada (12-17, 7-9): The Wolfpack spent spring break bonding and playing in Argentina. Whether it translates into a top-three finish in the WAC remains to be seen.

       

Nevada had two preseason All-WAC picks among their five returning starters, including junior hitter Kylie Harrington (St. Francis '07). Also on the roster from Hawaii are sophomore setter Tatiana Santiago (Kamehameha '08) and freshman defensive specialist Kelly Chang (Hawaii Baptist '09).

       

San Jose State (13-18, 7-9): Oscar Crespo obviously believes in the chemistry between high school teammates. On the Spartans roster are two freshmen from Kamehameha - setter Caitlin Andrade and hitter Alex Akana - while freshman hitter Taylor Japhet is reunited with her former Nevada Union High teammates Sarah McAtee and Kylie Miraki.

       

Andrade and Akana join former Warrior Kristal Tsukano, a senior libero and ESPN academic all-district. In her second year is assistant Annie Feller, a former Wahine assistant.

       

Fresno State (7-20, 3-13): The Bulldogs return all seven starters but may not be able to rise above seventh place in the WAC for second-year coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell.

       

Back after sitting out last season with an injury is junior hitter Lexi Watson.

       

FSU is 0-44 against Hawaii.