BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – The Bakersfield Roadrunners continue their east coast swing this week with a single non-conference tilt against Radford before continuing north for a trio of matches at the James Madison Tournament in Harrisonburg, Va. Like the previous week, this will be a first match-up against all four opponents.
The Roadrunners’ 2-1 finished at the Wildcat Classic was the best start to their season since 2005 and their season opening win was their first since making the jump to Division I. The last time CSUB won their season opener was back in 2006 during the ‘Runners last season in Division II.
ON THE SCREEN: CSUB's match at Radford will be available by clicking here. Live stats for all matches this week will be available through the volleyball schedules page.
IN THE POLLS: Seniors Debora Araujo (Sr., Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Western Nebraska CC) and Fernanda Gonçalves (Sr., Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Western Nebraska CC) were named to the 2013 Preseason All-WAC Team. Bakersfield was also selected to finish fifth in the 2013 WAC Preseason Coaches Poll.
HONOR ROLL: Mariah Alvidrez (R-Jr., Bakersfield, Calif., Liberty HS) and Araujo were named to the all-tournament team by the coaches. Alvidrez leads the team with 62 digs for a 5.17 average per set. The Liberty High School graduate also dished up 17 assists and posted a double double in a 3-2 loss to Davidson.
Araujo slammed down 54 kills in the three matches to go with her 38 digs. The Western Nebraska CC transfer also posted a pair of double doubles over the weekend.
SCOUTING THE HIGHLANDERS: First on the slate for CSUB before heading to the JMU Classic will be Radford. The non-conference match is slated for a 4 p.m. (PDT) tilt at the Dedmon Arena. The Highlanders come into the match 2-1 having dropped their lone match versus Easter Kentucky in five sets. RU returns 12 players including four starters and seven newcomers. As a team Radford is .295 with a 10.7 assists per set average. The Highlanders are led by Rachel Wiechecki with 39 kills and Cheyanne James with 36 kills.
ROADSWING CONTINUES: Bakersfield then continues its east coast swing with the James Madison Classic hosted by the Dukes Sept. 6-7. Unlike the Wildcat Classic, CSUB will only play one match the first day and close out the tournament with two.
The ‘Runners will open with a 2 p.m. (PDT) tilt with Presbyterian College. The Blue Hose come into the match having gone 1-3 at the UAB/Samford Classic. PC plays a single non-conference match against Appalachian State Tuesday night before heading to the JMU Classic. Presbyterian College returns two All-Big South selections as well as five other letterwinners. PC will also rely heavily on its five freshmen to come off the bench ready to play.
Bakersfield then takes on James Madison on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. (PDT). The Dukes went 1-2 last weekend at the Jefferson Cup hosted by Virginia. Like the Roadrunners, JMU returned its corps group of players including a Colonial Athletic Association All-Rookie Team honoree. Two players were also selected on Preseason All-CAA Honorable Mention team.
With an intermission in between matches, CSUB will conclude the tournament with Wyoming at 2 p.m. (PDT). The Cowgirls look to add onto their 4-0 start at the Wyoming Invitational. The Cowgirls were picked to finish eighth by the coaches in the Mountain West with four starters returning including two all-conference honorees. Wyoming will have the services of Erin Kirby who was third in the nation last year in blocks.
LOOKING BACK: Bakersfield completed its first tournament of the year 2-1 last weekend at the Davidson Wildcat Classic. The Roadrunners started the tournament hot defeating Charlotte 3-1 and then swept Charleston Southern (0-3). CSUB was on the road to its second sweep in as many days against Davidson Saturday but the home team stormed back to win the fifth set 16-14 for the comeback 3-2 victory.
In their season opener, the ‘Runners defeated UNCC (25-17, 28-30, 25-15, 29-27) and had three players record double-digit kills while Molly O’Hagan (Jr., Tonganoxie, Kan., Tonganoxie HS) led the pack with 18 kills. Araujo continued her dominant form from last year posting a double double with 16 kills to go along with 18 digs, good for second on the team.
CSUB then made quick work of the Buccaneers in straight sets (25-13, 25-15, 25-16) to finish day one 2-0. Araujo didn’t lose any form slamming down 14 kills.
Bakersfield had Davidson (3-0) on the ropes by taking an early two set lead over the tournament host but weren’t able to seal the deal and fell to the Wildcats (25-22, 25-2-, 19-25, 18-25, 14-16) in five. The Roadrunners had an opportunity in the fifth-set when they battled back down 13-9 with a five straight points to take match point but couldn’t convert and dropped their finale 16-14.
BY THE NUMBERS: Bakersfield as a team leads in four statistical categories through this weekend’s matches amongst teams in the Western Athletic Conference. The ‘Runners were tops in assists (165, 13.75 avg.), kills (176, 14.67 avg.), service aces (24, 2.00 avg.), and digs (207, 17.25 avg.).
Araujo ranks second in the individual statistics category with a 4.50 kills per set average and 46th in the nation as of Sept. 1. The senior OH also ranks 10th in digs with 38 for a 3.17 digs per set average and third in points with 59.5.
Alvidrez is ranked second in digs with 62 for a 5.17 digs per set average while Kelsee Sawyer (So., Temecula, Calif., Great Oaks HS) ranks second in service aces with seven.
LOOKING AHEAD: CSUB finally returns to the west coast with a short drive to Fresno, Calif., Sept. 13-14, for the Fresno State Classic. The ‘Runners will have their hands full with No. 12 Oregon to open things up Friday the 13th. UO is currently the only ranked opponent slated on the Bakersfield schedule this year. The Roadrunners kick off Saturday with a tilt against the host, Fresno State, before wrapping up the tournament with the Cowgirls of Wyoming.