After playing its first 10 matches of the season on the road, the CSU Bakersfield volleyball team will be staying home to host the Roadrunner Classic Thursday through Saturday at the Icardo Center. CSUB will play three matches in the tournament, two against Maryland-Eastern Shore and one against Utah Valley.
The 'Runners (3-7) will kick off the Roadrunner Classic with a showdown against UMES (14-1) on Thursday at 7 p.m. on the famous blue court at the Icardo Center. The two teams will meet again in a rematch on Friday night at 7 p.m. and then CSUB will take on Utah Valley (6-5) on Saturday night at 7 p.m. UMES and Utah Valley will play each other on Friday at 12:30 p.m.
"We are coming off some goot matches, taking sets from two Pac-12 teams in Washington State and Colorado and then gaining some momentum with out win against Norkfolk State," said CSUB head coach Jolene Shepardson. "We have all been looking forward to our UMES match because it kicks off our nine home matches this season. It is an exciting time because we have a fun, competitive team and great fans in Bakersfield."
CSUB is coming off of a 3-0 victory over Norfolk State on Sept. 15 at the Colorado Invitational in Boulder, Colo., as the 'Runners capped of a four-match Colorado road trip with a win. This season, the 'Runners have gotten a big boost from junior transfers Debora Araujo (Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Western Nebraska C.C.) and Fernanda Gonçalves (Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Western Nebraska C.C.). Araujo, an outside hitter, is ranked No. 25 in Division I volleyball in the country with an average of 4.86 points per set and leads the team with 151 kills. Gonçalves has served as the catalyst of the 'Runner attack as the setter has totaled 354 assists for an average of 9.83 per set.
UMES comes to Bakersfield riding a 10-match winning streak. Last season, UMES qualified for the NCAA Tournament where it lots to No. 9 UCLA in the first round. The Hawks lead the all-time series against the 'Runners 1-0 after defeating CSUB 3-1 in 2011 at the UMES Hawk Invitational.
Utah Valley enters the Classic on a short week, having lost to Southern Utah on Tuesday night. The Wolverines lead the all-time series against CSUB 6-1 and swept the 'Runners twice in 2011.
This week's Roadrunner Classic will serve as the first home tournament under Shepardson, who is in her second season as head coach. The Classic opens up a five-match home stand for CSUB. Next week, the 'Runners will host Cal Poly on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. and then take on New Mexico on Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 6 p.m.