California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

Volleyball aims to spike last season

Louis LaVenture,
Sports and Campus Editor

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For the last three years, there has been no postseason volleyball at California State University, East Bay.

The CSUEB women’s volleyball squad has gone 33-53 over those three years and has not produced a winning record since 2011. Despite four seniors that provided a majority of the production on the 2014 team, they did not reach the playoffs and finished last season 10-17.

Samantha Bruno, Veronica Sanchez, Amber Hall and Ashia Joseph dominated statistically for the Pioneers last year, but all of those seniors and their production are gone. This leaves a huge void in the starting lineup that will have to be filled by a combination of incoming freshman and some veterans who showed flashes of promise in some key matches late last season in 2014.

Despite the lack of collegiate experience, many of the underclassmen contributed some impressive numbers in 2014.

In her first season with the Pioneers, freshman Kiani Rayford, finished the year third behind seniors Hall and Bruno with 149 kills and 500 assists. Another freshman, Jovan Turner, also had a great statistical season for CSUEB and finished the year fourth on the team with 145 kills and 361 assists. The freshman from Torrance, Micah Hammond, led the team in blocks with 63 in 2014 and as sophomores. However, since the end of the regular season both Turner and Hammond have moved on from CSUEB.

“The seniors can not be replaced- but these incoming freshman will develop along with the athletes brought in last year to form a excellent team in 2016,” CSUEB Head Coach Jim Spagle said. “Many of the freshman will be asked to jump right into the red hot skillet known as the CCAA right from the start.”

Defensively, the departure of the senior Sanchez leaves a literal hole in the middle of the defense. Sanchez played the defensive specialist position in the middle of the floor that is responsible for the majority of digs and defensive responsibilities.

Junior from Fontana Angie Maina and freshman Brandi Brucato from Reno, Nevada combined for over 500 digs last season and played the position in many matches late in the season that seemed to give the team a boost down the stretch.

In January, Spagle announced that high school seniors Taylor Brown, Kiki Leuteneker and Julie Navarro all signed national letters of intent to join the Pioneers in 2015. All three players are listed at over six-feet tall while Leuteneker is listed at six-feet-three-inches. Brown and Navarro are both from California while Leuteneker is from Makawao, Hawaii. Spagle also recruited three more freshmen, a sophomore and two junior college transfer students.

“My expectations for this team are that all members develop into a true team,” Spagle said. “Each embraces accountability, and as a team we compete at a high level every match.”

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California State University East Bay
Volleyball aims to spike last season