Fourteen New Players Join CSUEB’s Volleyball Team

Amanda Zepeda

The CSU East Bay volleyball team has signed 14 new players that are expected to make an impact in the 2011 season.

Coming off a second-place showing in conference, 2010 CCAA Coach of the Year Jim Spagle announced the signing of the players for the 2011 season and is excited for the future of this team.

In what seems to be a complete makeover compared to last season’s team, The Pioneers will add three freshmen and 11 transfers to a depleted roster after losing nine seniors in 2010.

“We are very excited to announce our huge recruiting class for 2011,” Spagle said. “This group of athletes will bring in athleticism, quality skills and volleyball knowledge, as well as strong academics, leadership and a ton of potential to the CSUEB volleyball program.”

“Determining a starting lineup from this talented group may eventually become my biggest challenge, but depth is a huge asset when you’re competing in the powerful CCAA.”

Among the recruiting class is three new Pioneers that look to have a mighty impact.

A junior transfer out of Blue Mountain Community College in Washington state, Rebecca Haight was a 2010 AVCA first-team All-American as an outside hitter.

Haight, a native of Longview, Washington led the Timberwolves to a Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC) championship and a 43-6 overall record as a sophomore.

She was among the top 15 in the NWAACC in hitting percentage and finished third in overall kills with 225, while adding 4.02 digs per game.

Haight was also a three-time NWAAC East Region Player of the Week in 2010.

Joining her is Nicole Boyle, a junior from Cypress College.

The native of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, led the Chargers to the CCCAA Southern California Regional championship in her sophomore year.

The 6-foot outside hitter was named to the State Championships All-Tournament Team and led Cypress to a 25-6 overall record, while collecting All-Orange Empire Conference First Team honors.

As a freshman, Boyle played for University of Tulsa where she guided the Hurricanes to a Conference USA title and tied the program record for aces in a season with 60.

A third impact player looks to be Suzy Ni Xu, a native of Dalian, China who joins the Pioneers from Iowa Western Community College.

The 6’2 opposite was an AVCA second-team All-American and will be a junior in the fall.

Xu helped guide the Reivers to a 87-13 record in her two seasons there, participating in the national tournament both years – taking sixth in 2009 and ninth in 2010.

Xu earned NJCAA All-Tournament Team honors as a freshman and collected a pair of all-region selections and was named an All-American by both the AVCA and NJCAA as a sophomore.

Xu ranked among the top 25 in the nation in hitting percentage in 2010, laying down kills at a 40 percent clip for the year.

Joining these girls are transfers Nikki Long a junior out of Walla Walla Community College in Washington, Tatum Bales a sophomore from Solano College, Morgan Hirzel a junior from Fullerton College, Kristin Neary a junior also from Fullerton College, Veronica Sanchez a sophomore from Yakima Valley Community College in Washington, Danielle Stewart a junior from Pasadena City College, Justine Tabor a junior from Clark College in Washington, and Michelle Woodward a junior from Edmonds Community College.

The Pioneers also welcome in three freshmen that include, Samantha Bruno, freshmen from Portland Oregon who led Wilson High School to an Oregon State Championships appearance, Haley Luke from Honolulu who was a 2010 Hawaii State Championships quarterfinalist, and Lauren Vestal from Fall River who guided her school to the CIF Northern Section title and the Shasta Cascade League championship, earning second-team Division V All-State honors, a first-team All-Northern Section selection and Shasta Cascade League MVP recognition.

The 14 signees will join a Pioneer squad that loses all three of its All-CCAA honorees, including CSUEB Female Athlete of the Year Jit Athwal, to graduation.

Spagle, the reigning CCAA Coach of the Year will look to bring together this group of newcomers when the season begins in August.

“I look forward to getting this team’s motor started in mid-August and helping this group of student-athletes grow as a unified team on a daily basis,” Spagle said. “The future is bright for Cal State East Bay volleyball.”