Aug 30, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorFlavia Araujo continues the pipeline of volleyball players from Brazil to Central Wyoming College.
The 6-foot outside hitter joined the Rustlers Friday and has made a strong impact on CWC coach Tiffany Stauffenberg.
"Flavia is fundamentally sound," said Stauffenberg during a break at practice on Wednesday afternoon. "She will be playing all the way around. She has helped our passing game tremendously."
Stauffenberg said former and current CWC assistant coach Leticia Guimaraes recruited Araujo to the Riverton campus. Guimaraes also is from Brazil. She was named All-America last season for the Rustlers.
CWC sophomore Ana Tenorio is the other player from Brazil on the roster.
"I have to give Leticia all the credit for bringing Flavia over," Stauffenberg said.
"She will be a nice addition to the program. She will be a great replacement for Leticia."
Araujo will be asked to slam down kills in CWC's offensive attack.
"She brings a lot of power to the team," Stauffenberg said. "That is what we needed."
The Rustlers have been practicing since the first part of August.
"The chemistry isn't there yet, but each day it's getting better. There is a lot of talent here," Stauffenberg said. "The chemistry part needs to come together a little bit quicker. Then we will be able to play at a higher level."
Passing has been the main focus the entire preseason.
"The biggest thing they have improved on is passing," Stauffenberg said.
"If you can't pass, then there isn't much there. You can't do anything else."
Stauffenberg has her starters set for the season opening tournament Friday and Saturday in Salt Lake City.
Kaitlyn Tracy-Eaton and Araujo have locked down starting positions on the outside.
Danielle Parker and Abigail Ehlers will be switching on and off in the setting position.
"We are going to run a 5-1," Stauffenberg said. "One match we will use Danielle. The other match we will use Abigail."
Tenorio and Samantha Unruh are the middle hitters. Marissa Cutts is the right side hitter. Jessica Foy is the libero.
"Right now they are the best in the positions," Stauffenberg said. "I do have some good kids on the bench that will see some playing time. We will see what the best fit is."
The Rustlers will get a test on Friday and Saturday playing in the Salt Lake City tournament to begin the season.
CWC plays the host Salt Lake Community College team at 10 a.m. Friday. SLCC is ranked No. 7 in the nation in the latest junior college volleyball poll.
"The Salt Lake tournament will be extremely tough," Stauffenberg said. "It will be a tough opening, but that is what we need right now."
The Rustlers face No. 1 ranked College of Southern Idaho on Friday afternoon.
"We will be able to see a lot of things. We will have great competition," Stauffenberg said.
The Rustlers end the tournament on Saturday with matches against College of Eastern Utah and North Idaho College.
North Idaho is ranked No. 12 in the nation.
"We had the same type of schedule last year and went 0-4," Stauffenberg said. "We had some close matches last year. We weren't just able to finish. That is our goal this year, to get some big wins."
CWC starts the Region IX conference Tuesday playing at Northwest College in Powell.
"That is the important one," said Stauffenberg about the league match.
"We need to figure things out Friday and Saturday in Salt Lake. There is not a lot of time to figure out our mistakes."
Western Wyoming Community College (No. 5) and Casper College (No. 18) are the two Region IX teams ranked entering the regular season.
The Mustangs won the Region IX title last year, beating CWC in the title match.
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