By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Cal State Bakersfield begins its volleyball season today at the Davidson (N.C.) Wildcat Classic, facing North Carolina-Charlotte and Charleston Southern.
The Roadrunners, 14-17 last season in their final year as a Division I independent, join the Western Athletic Conference this season. The preseason poll of coaches predict a fifth-place finish.
Seniors Debora Araujo and Fernanda Goncalves, who are both from Brazil, were named to the preseason All-WAC team by a vote of conference coaches. Araujo, an outside hitter, had a team-high 475 kills last season and ranked second on the team in aces (28) and digs (245). Goncalves, a setter, had 1,161 assists.
Junior libero Mariah Alvidrez, a Liberty High graduate, returns after leading CSUB with 380 digs last season.
Also back is sophomore Kelsee Sawyer from Temecula, who was second on the team with 313 kills. Others returners are junior Molly O'Hagan and seniors Shayna Guitare and Julia Bowen.
CSUB plays its first West Coast matches on Sept. 13-14 at the Fresno State tournament. The home opener is a WAC match on Oct. 3 against Chicago State. CSUB's WAC opener is at Seattle on Sept. 26.