Stephens volleyball team prepares for Avila Invitational

Thursday, September 6, 2012 | 11:12 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The Stephens volleyball team isn't off to the start it wanted, but it isn't giving up hope.

With a record of 1-2 this season, the Stars are focusing on improving their weaknesses before they head to Kansas City on Friday for the Avila University Eagle Invitational.

Despite playing aggressively, Stephens lost 25-18, 25-23, 25-15 in its first conference game against William Woods on Tuesday.

"They gave them a real fight," Stephens coach Rose Obunaga said. "I don't think they were expecting that."

The loss seemed to light a flame for the Stars. The coach said practices following the game have been focused and morale has been high, despite their losing record.

"I don't have to fix attitudes, just errors," Obunaga said.

She said the players are just excited to play, regardless of whether they win or lose.

To prepare for the upcoming tournament, Obunaga has the team working on serves and outside hitting. Since the team is smaller than average, with only one player 6 feet tall, it has to compensate in other areas. Obunaga is confident that with minimal service errors and strong outside hitting, the Stars will be highly competitive at Avila.

Stephens plays at 1 p.m. Friday against St. Mary's and at 5 p.m. against Northwestern College.

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