Year of redemption for Roadrunners


CSUB celebrates after scoring the final point in a clean sweep of Grand Canyon at the Icardo center on Saturday, Oct. 24. Photo by AJ Alvarado/The Runner

By Syleena Perez

Sports Editor


CSU Bakersfield volleyball looks to redeem itself after a disappointing end to its 2015 season.

The Roadrunners (13-15) ended their season losing in the final game of the Western Athletic Conference tournament finals (3-0) against New Mexico State (27-5).

“I think how horribly we got crushed in the championship game last year has kind of fired us all up, and last year it took us so long to finally figure things out and at the last game it fell apart,” said senior middle blocker Sydney Haynes. “I think this year we are figuring things out early and that’s what’s really helping us because we are coming out strong from the start.”

With the loss of three of their power players Kelsee Sawyer, Edithza Urias and Luiza Martins, CSUB Director of Volleyball Giovana Melo describes how there have been changes happening with positions and new players were added to the 2016 roster.

“This year we are trying to be more of a team early on because we don’t have those power players as we did last year,” said Melo. “I think this year we are trying to be more of a team, so we have more of a variety and diversity with the players that we have and it’s not one or two players putting the ball away.

“We are getting a little bit better everyday, we have some new players coming in so they are trying to learn the way we do things, trying to learn the system.”

Melo said that winning the WAC is always in the back of the team’s mind, but adds that the team needs to work before they can get there.

“We have gotten better for sure since we’ve gotten started,” Melo said. “We are a little behind from where I wanted to be, but like I said we are doing some different things and making some position changes. We will get there when it’s the time.”

On Aug 19, the Roadrunners will have their first blue and gold scrimmage against each other.

At the time of this publication, the scrimmage had not been played yet.

“The scrimmage is good for us to see where we are but its not really telling us much because we are just playing against each other,” said Melo.

On Aug. 26-27, the Roadrunners will play in the Black Knights Invitational in West Point, N.Y., this is where Melo can see the strengths and weaknesses that are within the team and be able to work to improve for the rest of the season.

Melo has added three Bakersfield natives to the roster. Junior setter Emily Lopes from Independence High.

Sophomore outside hitter Shelby Frank transfered to CSUB from Chico State where she had 106 kills and 64 digs. Freshman libero Addy Peters from Centennial High, where she was named First Team All-League and ended her season with 663 digs being seventh most in the state.

The roster also grew when Melo added two junior college All-Americans Aleksandra Djordjevic and Fabiana Andrade.

The Servia native Djordjevic comes from Northwest College (Powell, Wyo.) where she earned two first team NJCAA All-American honors and was named WCCAC Player of the Year as a sophomore.

She had 1,149 kills between the two seasons.

Andrade comes from Western Nebraska Community College as a setter and where she was first team All-American by NJCAA and the AVCA. She had 1,810 assists, 408 digs, 94 kills, 60 ace serves and 32 blocks in 2015.

The Roadrunners are returning senior outside hitter Carol Grasso, Haynes and redshirt-senior setter Sophie Flemion this season. Grasso was named second team All-Conference and finished the season with 247 kills and seventh in the WAC in digs.

Haynes had 66 blocks, 191 kills, nine aces and five assists.

Flemion, had 274 digs, 216 assists with 15 aces and eight blocks.

“It’s a little bit different than it has been in the past there has been a core group who has been here for a while and that core group is doing a good job of implementing the other new players coming in and making them feel a little more comfortable about being here,” Melo said. “We are coming together as a team.”

Haynes said the team is stepping up and coming together and is excited to start the season.

“You are going to see some fire and some crazy stuff like the adrenaline and the energy in the gym is going to be amazing,” said Haynes. “I hope everyone is super impressed.”