Along with new jerseys and a new floor, the Long Beach State women’s volleyball team is going into the season with a fresh start, with the addition of one transfer and seven incoming freshman.
After a disappointing first season (10-19), head coach Joy McKienzie-Fuerbringer looks to revitalize the women’s volleyball team back to it’s usual high level of play. The Big West preseason poll predicted Long Beach finishing fourth in the conference, behind Cal Poly, Hawaii and UC Irvine.
“I think that’s a good seed for us. We have seven new players and many new starters so nobody really knows how we will compare, but I do know we will be ready to compete for the Big West Title,” McKienzie-Fuerbringer said. “We spent a lot of time recruiting and bringing in the type of players we believe will strive with our coaching style.”
Among the new players is transfer Tyler Spriggs at the outside hitter position. Spriggs joins Long Beach State after three seasons at Arizona, where she was second on her team in kills per set (2.32). She fills in the team’s outside hitter position which was vacated by Ashley Murray’s transfer during the last season.
“Tyler is a natural leader with years of experience,” McKienzie-Fuerbringer said. “We expect her to step in and take a leadership role on and off the court.”
Spriggs showed what she is capable of in Tuesday’s exhibition against San Diego State, where she racked up 9 kills and 8 digs, hitting at a rate of .381, behind returning senior outside hitter Emma Kirst’s .385 attack percentage.
The team also brings in seven freshman, including libero Carly Hill and setter Carly Aigner-Swesey, who will join returning sophomore Mina Andjelkovic at the setter position. With more young talent, McKienzie-Fuerbringer hopes to run a faster offense, reliant on the setter’s ability to learn quickly.
With the influx of outside hitters, Harward will be able to return to her regular position of libero after having to switch to outside hitter last season.
Long Beach will open its season on the road at the Portland State Tournament this weekend, where it will have its first game at noon Friday against Boise State, with another at 7 p.m. against Portland State before closing at 7 p.m. Saturday against Portland State once more.
“Our bodies are healthy and the players are excited to compete and see where the team is at. We have lots of work to do but the players are all in so anything is possible,” McKienzie-Fuerbringer said.