Volleyball | 08/20/2019
Mats Digging 2019 Outlook
The last two decades of Matadors Volleyball have been rich with success on and off the court culminating in 13 region championships.
Two of those have come in the last four years under Head Coach Lorayne Chandler. Now entering her fifth season, Chandler’s young 2019 squad will attempt to repeat the success of a team that won the ACCAC last season.
Gone from that championship team are eight different players who are continuing their academic and athletic careers at four-year schools.
Matadors Moving On Current Four Year School
Yeny Montoya Murillo
Grand Canyon (AZ)
Arkansas Tech (AR)
Southwestern College (KS)
Stanislaus State (CA)
Lisbeth Rosario Martinez
Central Michigan (MI)
Tennessee State (TN)
Neyshlian Roman Concepcion
Back in the fold are a trio of offensive threats with the ability to stay on the court during rotation as well as make a dynamic impact on offense. Melissa Garciglia Banuelos and Jovana Papaz each registered over 100 kills as freshman and will be an integral part of the Matadors attack and versatility.
Each figure to see an increased workload in both matches and sets. Garciglia Banuelos and Papaz were both in the top five for attack percentages as freshman, showing great maturity by minimizing errors. Their power along with the returning Live Tonga in the middle give the Matadors a dynamic attack without sacrificing much defensively.
The experience is also upped by a pair of transfer setters in Nayeli Vilchez and Delaney St. Pierre. Vilchez from Polk State (NE) and St. Pierre from Ryder (NJ) bring versatility at the position as well as added leadership to a team with just three returners. Vilchez could play a dual role for the Lady Mats while St. Pierre’s communication skills add depth and versatility on the attack.
The Matadors have seven freshman coming in to help take the next step. Adding to the attack will be Colombian natives Anny Montano Hurtado and Luisa Maria Mesa. The duo represents both speed and power that AWC will rely on to provide consistency in the offense.
The front side rounds out with Nina Matau from Oahu, HI providing athleticism in the middle.
Yuma native and Cibola High School graduate Honor Owens will bolster a great service group as well as another local Isabel Ponce. Ponce, from Kofa High School, adds to the strong service group and will see time as a defensive specialist and libero.
Competing for the Libero spot will be Sakura Yamazaki from Japan. Yamazaki’s great ability to read the ball on defense will impact the back line for the Matadors.
Arizona Western will take a young roster into a daunting pre-season schedule beginning Friday afternoon in Roswell, New Mexico for the NMMI Invitational Tournament. The Lady Matadors open the season at 3:00pm, Friday, August 23rd against Odessa before taking on Seward County at 7:00pm. The Matadors wrap up the tournament with a pair of matches against Hill College at 10:00am Saturday morning and host New Mexico Military Institute at 4:00pm.