Bryan Cole / The Collegian
Fresno State to face La. Tech in first round at Hawaii
To compete in the 2008 Western Athletic Conference volleyball tournament, Fresno State must have a â€œplay-inâ€ game before they earn the chance to go against everyone else.
The Bulldogs are the eighth seed going into the Stan Sheriff Center at the University of Hawaii campus. Their opponent is the last-seeded Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters.
The winner of the play-in game will face New Mexico State, the No. 2 seed in the WAC Tournament.
â€œWe have a pretty good seed. Weâ€™re playing La. Tech first. Theyâ€™re actually playing pretty well and theyâ€™re going to be tough,â€ coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell said. â€œHopefully weâ€™ll be successful in that match.â€
Junior Kelly Leonardo will be playing in her third WAC Tournament and believes that this team is different from the previous ones she played on.
â€œWeâ€™re a lot more confident,â€ Leonardo said. â€œWe havenâ€™t had the best season in all of my three years here but weâ€™re learning every day. Weâ€™re holding each other accountable for everything and weâ€™re just playing for ourselves. Weâ€™re not relying on any coaches or anyone. Even though this is my third year, this is the year that Iâ€™ve grown the most as a volleyball player.â€
Fresno State finished the regular season with a 6-19 overall record and 3-13 in WAC play. Louisiana Tech finished the season 4-23 and winless in conference play.
Freshman Baylee Platt is one of the players going into the game with confidence.
â€œWe are all very confident in the tournament,â€ Platt said. â€œWe know that we can go out there and hopefully take them in three. So weâ€™re excited.â€
Leonardo saw the importance of being an eighth seed going into the tournament because that seed doesnâ€™t have to play against top-seeded Hawaii until the final round.
â€œItâ€™s almost better that we ended up as an eighth seed rather than a seventh,â€ Leonardo said. â€œThe seventh plays Hawaii and New Mexico State is very beatable. If we play up to our expectations weâ€™re going to win.â€
Brianna Clarke, however, doesnâ€™t want her team to get over-confident going against Louisiana Tech.
â€œYou canâ€™t underestimate them,â€ Clarke said. â€œThey could come out with something special.â€
During the regular season, Fresno State swept the season series 2-0. Both games were decided in four sets.
For Netherby-Sewell, this will be her first WAC Tournament as coach of the Bulldogs.
â€œThe great thing about a postseason tournament is that itâ€™s a new season,â€ Netherby-Sewell said. â€œIt doesnâ€™t matter what weâ€™ve done in the past.â€
Freshmen Platt and Clarke will also witness their first conference tournament when Nov. 20 comes around.
â€œIâ€™m very excited,â€ Platt said. â€œItâ€™s a new start to the season. Iâ€™m just ready to go out there and try to dominate.â€
Clarke shares the same enthusiasm going into Thursdayâ€™s game.
â€œIâ€™m just really excited to prove to people that we are good and that we can take on the best teams and take them to five sets,â€ Clarke said.
The WAC Tournament is from Nov. 20-23. All games will be played at Hawaii.