(Walnut, CA) With a near miss in post-season competition in the inaugural season of Mt. SAC Beach Volleyball last year, expectations are high for the 2019 campaign.
The season gets underway Wednesday (2/20) at Fullerton College.
Second-year Beach Volleyball coach Ali Carey-Oliver has had her team on the sand since mid-January and the 13-player roster is set for a run to the 2019 playoffs, which will compete each week for the five pairs for competition.
"We're excited to see how the returning All-Conference pair of Carr and Palos will perform this season," Carey-Oliver said. "They are both coming off of excellent indoor seasons and are working hard to repeat as all conference selections this year."
Newcomers Samantha Neely and Juliana Gomez, both freshmen, are very athletic. "Sam brings a wealth of indoor experience, work ethic and a very positive attitude to the squad," Carey-Oliver said. "She also has tremendous leadership ability.
Neely had a stellar indoor volleyball career at Westmont College. She was the GSAC 2018 Player of the Year and a two-time NAIA All-American.
"Juliana is an aggressive defensive player with great energy and a competitive nature," added Carey-Oliver. "Juliana's light-hearted personality and competitive drive provide a strong atmosphere at practice." Gomez transferred from CSU Bakersfield where she was on the golf team.
"New to the Beach team, freshmen Macy Barnes, Jessie Morse, Jocelyn Portillo and Aya Al-Juraishi are showing a lot of promise as well," Carey-Oliver said. "They are moving well in the sand and we're expecting some great things from them."
The squad also welcomes back sophomore returners Alysha Tullar, Lindsey Lane, Natalya Fajardo and Brianda Valdez. Tullar and Lane will be competing together, while Fajardo and Valdez will each partner with a freshman in hopes of guiding the freshmen with their experience and knowledge. Fajardo and Al-Juraishi will be playing together, while Valdez will partner with Portillo.
The Mounties will be going on two road trips this season. The first will be to Santa Barbara City College Friday (3/1) for a morning match at East Beach, then head to the South San Jose area in Gilroy at Galivan College the next day (Saturday 3/2) for a couple of matches.
"There are many strong beach teams in the north and Galivan will give us a good idea of what that region's competition is like," Carey-Oliver said.
The second is an out of state trek to Arizona with a trip to Arizona Christian University (ACU) and Grand Canyon University (GCU) in Phoenix Friday and Saturday (4/5, 6). In addition to playing ACU, they will play some very competitive NCAA Division I teams in GCU, UAB and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
"We're hoping that some of our pairs will make it into the post season this year," Carey-Oliver said. "With Malia and Shai's success last season and a near miss of a post season berth, we're hopeful that we'll get at least one team into the regionals this post season. Our team has been training hard and made some major strides since last season. We hope to be in contention for a team regional berth as well."
In addition, the temporary on-campus beach volleyball courts are under construction and will be ready for team use by March 1st.
2019 pairs teams:
Follow Mt. SAC Women's Volleyball on Twitter @MtSAC_BeachVB
For additional information, please contact the Mt. SAC Sports Information Office at 909.274.4630.