Sep 152005
Authors: Paul Baker

For the second weekend in a row, Ram volleyball action will bring life to Moby Arena. And with the Coors Rocky Mountain Challenge bringing the likes of New Mexico State and Florida A&M to town, it promises to be an exciting weekend.

The Rams will suit up against the physical squad of New Mexico State in the first round. Although the Aggies are coming in with an impressive 3-0 season record, the Rams shouldn't be too intimidated considering they're 10-1 historically against them at Moby.

"They are a big team all the way across the board," head coach Tom Hilbert said. "They jump high and will be a very tough match for us."

New Mexico State is led by sophomore outside hitter Kim Oguh, who has recorded 3.4 kills per game so far this season. Supporting her is junior middle blocker Alice Borden; with 3.2 kills per game she is a big presence for the Aggies in the middle.

After the tough match up tonight, the Rams have no time to take a break as Florida A&M beckons on Saturday night.

The Rams have met the Rattlers only once, in the 2003 Hilton Classic, and escaped with a win in a five-set match.

The Rattlers, although 1-3 this season, won't be an easy opponent for the Rams. They are led by star senior Jayli Jackson who has 41 kills and is hitting .383 already this year.

"Florida A&M is a very crafty team," Hilbert said. "They're not as big as some of the other teams that we play, that is except for Jayli Jackson. They are made up of mostly international players, it's like playing an international club team. It will be tough."

With some of the best competition all year coming to Moby this weekend, this is a great test for the Rams before conference games start next weekend.

"This is a great stepping stone for us," sophomore right side hitter Tonya Mokelki said. "We need to start conference on a positive note, and this is a good way to do that."

This tough schedule for the Rams could hurt them in the early part of the season in terms of national rankings, but Hilbert said it's essential to prepare his team.

"You can't schedule easy teams if you want to be a good team," Hilbert said. "It's important to play those teams so that they can press and push you."

After winning the Hilton Classic last weekend, the Rams weren't looking to change much, just fine tune.

"We worked a little on serving and passing this week," freshman setter Ashley Fornstrom said. "Its more that we need to control the ball on our side of the net."

Both matches are set for 7 p.m. at Moby Arena. Like always, the ladies are hoping their fellow students will be there to cheer them on.

"The fans give us a great vibe," said Mokelki. "With a lot of fans, it is easier to get pumped up."

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