The CSU volleyball team will be saying goodbye to 1,068 kills, 412 digs and 356 blocks when seniors Amanda Fahnestock and Tonya Mokelki finish their college careers.
Now, on the verge of making yet another NCAA tournament, the seniors will be playing what is likely to be their last match at Moby Arena tonight.
Mokelki is having a hard time believing that this could be her last time in front of a green and gold crowd.
“It is hard to think that,” the outside hitter said. “It is hard to believe it is here. You play for four and a half years and then you walk in and think that you won’t play another game here.”
Fahnestock said she hasn’t fully realized this could be her goodbye to Moby.
“It is kind of surreal to think that this is our last game,” she said. “It probably won’t hit us until after. The whole atmosphere with the boosters and the fans is just what Moby is. There are so many things I can’t find anywhere else.”
Head coach Tom Hilbert explained that it is never an easy experience to see the seniors play their last home game.
When he was younger, senior night would sneak up on him, but now in his 18 years of coaching, Hilbert has a new way of viewing the occasion.
“In the past few years I have always made the seniors talk to the other players about their stake in the program and fast it has gone for them,” he said. “I do it so the whole team will get some motivation to play well for that group.”
Hilbert said the duo has been invaluable to the Rams’ success.
“Both of those kids play really hard,” the Oklahoma native said. “Tonya has been like a court general for us. Amanda has made a lot of great sacrifices playing the role that she plays and has done it with an unbelievable amount of class.”
For the seniors’ last match at home, the Rams will welcome the struggling Air Force Falcons.
The Academy has yet to win a conference game going 0-14 so far. At the teams first meeting, CSU defeated the Falcons in 3 games 30-21, 30-17 and 30-21.
With a chance to attain an undefeated regular season at home, Mokelki couldn’t think of a better way to end her time at Moby.
“It is always a good way to go out winning,” the third-year varsity player said. “Tom (Hilbert) always talks about how we will be remembered. Going undefeated at home is a really good legacy and I hope it is a tradition our program would continue to have.”
Volleyball beat reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mokelki, or Mok as she is called by her teammates, has been at the center of the CSU volleyball universe for the past four and a half years.
Coming to the Rams from Weyburn, Saskatchewan, the 5’11 outside hitter has been with the team through highs and lows including four NCAA tournaments. Mokelki has been a vocal leader for CSU, bringing an intense but smart game to the court.
Hilbert explained that all of her experience has made Mokelki a good leader.
“She has been through the ups and downs and been with different groups of players,” he said. “She knows the tribulations you go through some times and that is what leaders really contribute on a team. When things aren’t going great they know how to handle it.”
Fahnestock transferred to CSU after playing for Utah State her freshman year. Never really seeing consistent time in the Rams starting line up, she has shown tremendous flexibility, playing several different roles for the team. Hilbert realizes that such a role isn’t easy, and applauds Fahnestock for doing it.
“There are a lot of players that can be considered a seventh player and that is how we look at her,” he said. “She is so good at so many things.”
Fahnestock said when she looks back, she is happy about her decision to transfer.
It has been the hardest role I have ever had in my life, but through this I have had to embrace it and understand what I give to the team,” she said. “All in all you don’t just come to volleyball to become a really good player; you come for the experience and to be with the team. In the long run I am glad I have been here.”
Mokelki: Career numbers-
338 Games, 867 kills, .274 attack percentage, 355 digs 265 blocks
Best game- at UNLV 11-12-06 21 kills, .349 pct. 3 assists and 14 digs
Now what- Possibly playing for the Canadian Olympic Volleyball team, Mokelki is planning to travel Europe before going for a master’s degree.
Fahnestock: Career numbers-
194 Games, 201 kills, 232 attack percentage, 162 digs, 91 blocks
Best game- at Air Force 12 kills, .522 pct, 3 digs 3 blocks
Now what- Fahnestock is planning to go to Utah for an internship and complete her degree online.