No rest for the ’Hawks

FLC volleyball to face Mavericks

Three days might be plenty of turnaround time in many instances.

But for a volleyball team coming off a loss in a match it feels it should’ve won, it’s like the blink of an eye.

Fort Lewis College will host Colorado Mesa, which also played Saturday, under those very circumstances at 7 p.m. today at Whalen Gymnasium, and without any choice, FLC head coach Shelly Aaland is rolling with the punches.

“We couldn’t dwell on that one (loss to New Mexico Highlands), so we’ll go with the mentality that we’re getting back to work,” Aaland said.

The Skyhawks (5-5, 1-1 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) took a slight step back against the Cowgirls after a resounding victory over CSU-Pueblo on Friday. On the flip side, the Mavericks (8-2, 2-0 RMAC) swept those same two teams and enter tonight’s contest winners of five in a row.

“I think just like any other team in our conference, when someone builds momentum and gets on a roll, it’s hard to stop any of them,” Aaland said.

The ninth-year head coach for Fort Lewis said that Mesa likes to roll with two setters in back and three attackers up front. The Mavericks rely heavily on outside hitters Casey Ball (90 kills) and Christian Otsen (82) and prefer power over tip kills, which seems to suit FLC just fine, given that the Skyhawks have had some issues both down the middle and on kill attempts with a lack of pace.

“It kind of lessens the guessing game a little bit that our middles have to do,” Aaland said. “From what I see, their sets don’t look overly fast, so it gives us a chance to get there and get set.

“I think their outsides are kind of their workhorses, so they get quite a few of the attempts.”

In a match between two teams with fairly similar stylistic leanings, the 1-on-1 opportunities at the net could be the deciding factor in the match.

Aaland said she’s hoping Hannah Starbuck, who had 15 kills and 16 digs against Highlands, can make hay on the outside while Stephani Sonka does the same in the middle.

“Both have the abilities to terminate, especially when they get 1-on-1 opportunities,” the Fort Lewis head coach said.

rowens@durangoherald.com