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Sept. 12, 2003

Coming off a tournament sweep at Arizona State and a few tough losses in the Stanford Classic, Devon Forster and the rest of the Torero squad look forward to using this weekend's USD Invitational as a launching pad for success.

Forster, a junior from Boulder, Colorado, enjoyed early success as a Torero picking up WCC Freshman of the Year Honors in 2001 and was selected to the All-WCC First Team in each of her first two years. Her achievements did not come easily however as she encountered some obstacles in the transition from high school volleyball to a top college program.

"It was challenging, obviously," says Forster. "Every freshman is used to being the star of their high school team and coming from that to a team where everyone was that person certainly makes the level of volleyball a lot higher."

It didn't take long for Forster to find her niche, and as the season progressed it was clear she had a bright future. Now as the 2003 season nears conference play, Forster looks to lead the Toreros to their first Conference Championship since 1998. Two of their biggest obstacles on the road to the WCC title are Pepperdine and Santa Clara, who in the past have had the upper hand against USD.

"We don't like losing to those teams," says Forster. "It is going to take great team chemistry and we all have to trust each other as a team if we want to achieve our goals for the season."

Those goals not only include a conference title, but a top seed in the NCAA tournament as well. Last year, the Toreros had a tough first round draw and were paired against top ranked USC. Although the Trojans went on to win the match, Forster feels that the experience can be used to motivate the team's play; and with six ranked teams on their 2003 schedule, the Toreros hope to prove that they are worthy of a higher seed this year.

Now, as a junior, Forster knows she has a new role to play as a leader of the team.

"There is definitely that responsibility, but it doesn't feel that way," she says. "It is more of a natural thing. I just go out there and do what I can to help the team."

Forster has already done more than that this season as the Toreros are off to a good start with a 4-2 record, with the two losses coming against top ranked Stanford and UCSB. Now the team looks to help their cause in front of a home crowd with a game on Friday and two on Saturday including a big match against Long Beach State.

Forster looks forward to the opportunity to play at home and hopes to repeat her performance at the Sun Devil Classic where she pounded out 53 kills on her way to becoming the MVP of the tournament.

"We really take pride at home," Forster exclaims. "Every year one of our goals is to be undefeated at home, and we do what we can to create that advantage."

The season is young, but the hopes are high for Devon Forster and the rest of the Torero Volleyball team in the 2003 season. Come and support the team during their next challenge this weekend and watch the USD Invitational as the Toreros defend their home court at the Jenny Craig Pavilion this Friday and Saturday.



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