The Stanislaus State volleyball team achieved their pre-season goal of making it to the CCAA postseason tournament. However, on Thursday November 8th, the Volleyball Warriors fell short in their first-round matchup of the tournament. The Warriors came into the tournament with home court advantage and seeded third. First up on the team’s schedule for the tournament was Cal Poly Pomona, the second seed of the tournament.
Cal Poly Pomona ended the short-lived home court advantage of the Warriors as they won in three ultra-competitive sets that did not include a single win for Stan State. The Broncos of Cal Poly have been a tough matchup for the Warriors as they won in all the matchups these two teams squared off in this season.
Coach Mallori Gibson-Rossi was not dwelling on the tough loss and was quite optimistic for the team and the future of the team. Gibson-Rossi proudly stated “Knowing now we can compete, our program is now used to winning going from three wins last season to 16 this season”.
The Warriors volleyball team is still young, as they utilized a starting line up that consisted mostly of underclassmen. “This season was good for the future of the program,” said Gibson- Rossi when looking back on the drastic turnaround of this season in comparison to last season. Even though the Warriors were not able to pick up a win in any of the three sets they still played really hard. Gibson-Rossi pinpointed the loss saying, “They (Cal Poly) were able to stay consistent”.
After a first set that was a fast paced highly intense back and forth contest that saw a few lead changes ended with a 28-26 Warrior loss the team's morale definitely took a hit. Gibson-Rossi explained that the team was playing so hard in that the first set but when they eventually lost it became an obstacle that was hard to rally back from.
Chelsey Berry (Sophomore, Communications), the starting libero broke down the team’s struggles that came down to not being able to block in clutch moments. The teams actually had the same amount of blocks total as they ended up with nine each, but Stan had an inability to block at the right times.
Berry explained, “Yes we had great touches on most of the hits but in cases where we needed a block we had no one up which led to them gaining momentum.”
This was evident especially in the second set as Cal Poly Pomona took a quick lead and did not look back. The Broncos were able to take advantage of the momentum they developed in the first set after narrowly escaping the Warriors. They made sure there was no problem with that in the second set as they won 25-15 and the third set winning 25-18, which ended the season for the Warriors.
Even though this season sadly came to an end today as the Warriors needed to win the conference tournament to make it to the national tournament this season taught young players, such as Berry, a lot.
When asked what she learned or will take away from this season Berry stated, “I will take our heart and fight to next seasons to come because this season we never lost that passion.”
This season’s success has Berry and the team hungry for much more as she said, “My expectations for next year is to WIN the CCAA tournament next year and have an amazing start and finish to our season.”
The Stan State Warriors volleyball team is not to be overlooked next year as they will be returning the majority of their starters, and will no longer be the new kids on the block. The three-win season is a thing of the past, and the Warriors have turned onto a new leaf. Coach Gibson-Rossi explained, “ We will have a target on our back…”
The other teams in the CCAA have been put on notice, so don’t be surprised if the Warriors Volleyball team rallies off this season and makes a deep run through the conference tournament and into the national tournament.