Season Nearly Underway for Women’s Volleyball in the WAC

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Bakersfield looks to repeat as champions in 2015
Garrett Hadley | Sports writer | @GarrettHadley

As the end of the summer quickly approaches, the action of women’s volleyball in the Western Athletic Conference is beginning to start up. The season kicks off on August 28, with 11 nonconference matchups featuring WAC teams.TeamWAC01 from CSUB Athletic Dept.
Last season, Cal State Bakersfield earned the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after defeating Seattle University to win the WAC Tournament. The Roadrunners were the No. 3 seed going into the tournament with a 16-15 overall record and 9-5 conference record. They defeated Texas-Pan American and New Mexico State before defeating Seattle for the title. Sophomore middle blocker Sydney Haynes, who was named to the All-WAC Freshman team, returns to the Runners.
“I think that the conference is slowly getting better,” Bakersfield Head Coach Giovana Melo said. “Of course Kansas City and New Mexico State are always competing in the top three in the conference and I see that being the same thing this year as they have a lot of returners. I think that every school is getting a little better.”
The University of Missouri-Kansas City finished the regular season with an overall record of 20-10, 12-2 in the WAC to earn No. 1 seed in the WAC Tournament. They had four players named to the All-WAC team. First-team All-WAC performers Sydney Crimmins, Emma Hagedorn and Taryn Miller all return for the Roos in 2015.WVB 8-25-15 by GC -5519
“I think it’s tough, I think there are some really tough teams,” said Utah Valley University head coach Sam Atoa when asked who the favorite is for the upcoming season. “UMKC lost only one kid and a majority are coming back, I consider them a favorite; they won the regular season so they’re a team to reckon with. New Mexico State will be tough; Seattle U is doing some great things.”
New Mexico State is coming off a successful campaign in 2014 as they went 17-11 overall, 10-4 in WAC play. They saw their season come to an end in the WAC Tournament when they lost to eventual champion Bakersfield in the semifinals. Head Coach Michael Jordan will be looking to senior outside hitter Nathalie Castellanos who earned second team All-WAC honors in 2014 as well as senior middle blocker Gwen Murphy who was also named to the second team All-WAC.
Seattle finished as the runner-up in the WAC Tournament after upsetting Utah Valley and UMKC to get to the final. They return first team All-WAC middle blocker Martina Samadan as well as outside hitter Jelena Vujcin, who was named to the WAC All-Freshman team.
After making it into the WAC tournament as the No. 4 seed with an overall record of 14-18 and 8-6 record in the conference, UVU has experience to build off of going into the season.
Grand Canyon returns WAC Freshman of the Year Natalie Tardy and will look to build on a 21-11 overall record in 2014. They ended up a disappointing sixth in the WAC with a 6-8 record.WVB 8-25-15 by GC -5611
Chicago State has made some changes after finishing with a winless record in the conference at 0-14 and an overall record of 6-24; they also had a 16 game losing streak. Last month they hired Brandon Reeves as the new head coach. Reeves comes in after two seasons at Concordia University in Selma, Alabama where he tallied a 25-8 record and was a finalist for the USCAA National Coach of the Year award.