The Big West Conference named Taylor Hagenah and Malia Gementera Pair of the Week on March 20 after winning all four of their matches that weekend.
The freshman pair defended the home court the weekend of March 17 and 18 after a straight set victory, 21-15 and 21-17, over Texas and a comeback win versus No. 16 Stetson after a first set loss of 18-21 and eventually winning the last two sets 21-14 and 15-7.
Hagenah and Gementera also clinched the dual versus Utah on March 18 after a straight-set win of 21-11 and 21-12. The pair would later close out their homestand against the same pair from Stetson with another straight-set win (21-16, 21-14).
The duo played a huge role in clinching the duals for LBSU versus Texas and No. 16 Stetson.
“It’s a really cool feeling,” said Gementera. “It’s just cool seeing our hard work pay off in practice.”
Building team chemistry wasn’t a factor because it was natural for them.
“Our chemistry is really strong on the court because we are really close friends outside of volleyball and we are with each other a lot living in the dorms and just practicing and training together a lot,” said Hagenah. “It comes over to our game and we are able to know what each other needs and having good communication.”
The pair did know each other before college volleyball. They had some history at the junior club level before heading to The Beach.
“We were kinda junior player rivals and played against each other a lot,” said Hagenah. “We actually had different partners and now we swapped partners with them.”
Being freshmen, adjusting to the college game is a part of the process. But winning pair of the week was a huge confidence builder for the duo and the entire team.
“Adjusting to that at first was kinda tough coming from juniors because the level of play is a lot faster and its a lot more techniques and strategies,” said Hagenah. “But having the whole fall season to prepare us got us really prepared for the season.”
They both know the game of beach volleyball and have shown it in between the lines.
Coach Mike Campbell had high praise for his freshman duo.
“They are very good and they just have been playing some really strong volleyball right now,” said Campbell. “In these tough matches, they are able to problem solve very well so it’s getting them out of some tough spots.”
Hagenah and Gementera continued their hot streak winning a dual versus No. 10 Stanford and Vanguard University this past weekend.
“They are having a lot of fun together,” said Campbell. “It’s exciting for us to be a part of.”