ALYSSA FOSTER, KARA BARKDOLL lead Cal State San Marcos into NAIA volleyball playoffs

by: COURTESY OF CAL STATE SAN MARCOS - Kara Barkdoll (left) and Alyssa Foster, former Central Catholic High standouts, celebrate a point for their Cal State San Marcos volleyball team, which is in the NAIA playoffs.Two former Central Catholic Rams have led Cal State San Marcos into the NAIA volleyball playoffs for the third year in a row.

Junior setter Alyssa Foster and junior middle Kara Barkdoll have starred for the Cougars, who are playing The Masters College on Saturday in Santa Clarita, Calif., for a berth in the national tournament.

The 5-10 Foster and 6-1 Barkdoll came to Cal State San Marcos when the volleyball program began three years ago.

Foster, who was MVP of last week's conference tournament, is the only player to play in every game in school history.ALYSSA FOSTER

"I grew up in rainy Portland and thought, 'Oh, my gosh, I want to go to Southern California,' " Foster says, recalling her thoughts during the recruiting period. "I said, 'I'm going to take a risk and go for it.'

"It was intriguing, kind of a mystery. But I was hoping for the best, and everything has turned out great so far. It's neat to know that we have set the foundation."

Cal State San Marcos, located about 35 miles north of San Diego, has applied for NCAA Division-II status.

For now, though, Foster is a candidate for NAIA All-America honors. The Cougars' co-captain was named conference setter of the year and made the all-conference team for the third year in a row.

This year, she led the league in assists per set (10.0) and was sixth in service aces per set (.42), with 52 aces and only 22 service errors. She added 98 kills, hitting .330.

Barkdoll, who has battled injuries, ranks fourth in school history in kills and fifth in blocks. She played basketball and volleyball at Central, making the all-Mt. Hood Conference team in volleyball as a senior in 2010.KARA BARKDOLL

Foster and Barkdoll both were with the Rams for their state volleyball titles in 2009 and 2010, and they grew up playing club volleyball together.

Cal State San Marcos has about 10,000 students.

"It's about 15 minutes from the beach," Foster says.

by: COURTESY OF CAL STATE SAN MARCOS - Alyssa Foster serves for the Cougars.Foster is majoring in business, with an emphasis on marketing. She hopes to work in Southern California after graduating, and perhaps work in sports marketing.

"I definitely want to stay here while I'm young," she says.

Barkdoll is studying kinesiology and may go into physical therapy.

The unranked Cougars' opponent on Saturday, The Masters, is No. 16, with a 19-8 record. Cal State San Marcos is 26-11.

The winner gets into the 24-team field for the NAIA title in a Dec. 3-7 tourney at Sioux City, Iowa.

"They're higher ranked than us, but we are peaking at a great time," Foster COURTESY OF CAL STATE SAN MARCOS - Kara Barkdoll prepares to hit for Cal State San Marcos, as teammate Alyssa Foster (7) watches the play.

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