Wow. Thanks for that evaluation.
probably unfair, yet with Tyler and a Big West with a lot of re-load, I expect to win the Big West - won't be easy with UCSB, Hawaii, Poly in particular, still this is it put up time for Tyler, he's brought in a LOT of capable players and there will be more competition for playing time than we've seen in a long time - the best group and similar to that balanced undefeated 2014 team that had incredible balance - the last team to go to the NCAAs (wow, it's been 8 years) and win a NCAA match
Setter: the big news is Meyer (the #51 rated recruit as BYU frosh) withe a year of practive with a top 10 program. she's tall, offensive minded, and good hands. still, don't give her the spot yet, Tia Chavira has experience with the spot, now hasn't shown to set consistently, yet she's athletic and can terminate for a setter. It bets the question if the 6-2 experiments from the spring will become the offense as a LB has run a 5-1 for like 40 years, so would seem sacralige. Chavira will see court time, she can play opp, and has a high risk-reward line-drive serve, and maybe the more athletic of the two.
Beach is in much better shape this year with the talent and experience both.
Opp: Kennedy seems like a lock, 1st team Big West, has pin-point shot control, the all-around background from the beach team, a very solid VB player. Chavira can back-up, Nembhard is intersting, was a Big 12 frosh team selection, and not much since , she's one of the mystery talents Tyler has brought in. Beach is in very good shape
MB: Bacon got progressively better, she's got some hops. Probably the player I'm most excited about to see with the experience and confidence how high her ceiling is this year. She's can be a 0.350 hitter and 1 bps MB. will she? I think so. Schwarzenbach will bring experience and proven Big10 talent. 6'5" she' be a solid blocker, and able to terminate. This tandem will have our block in much better shape. Froshes WHittle and Sheffie are development projects AND our depth, so one of them will need to be ready.
Beach is in significantly better shape than last year, although depth here is the biggest concern with this squad.
DS: competition is CRAZY good here. how the coaches will figure this one out is a good job to have. Giambi proved to be solid and the incumbent so to speak, she had a solid frosh year, and no reason to expect she won't be a step better this year, as well as able to come in and serve. Her receiving % was the highest among all the regular players. It's her position to lose. The competition is fierce with De La Cruz who proved she could also be part of some offense options with her setting capability that allowed Chavira to attack as a front row setter. Natalie Glenn (Minnesota athletic transfer) Savana Chacon (Purdue Xfer & sister of OH Morgan Chacon) expect they'll compete as they'll also be options for a DS that can attack out of the back-row, even Morgan Chacon could compete here if not a full-time OH. Competition is just fierce.
Upgrade from last year and huge depth.
Nicole Hoff is another presumptuous incumbent for this spot. This should be her best year. Best description is she could be a bit streaky. All liberos experience some of that. IF she can avoid a the receiveing/passing slumps, can see her starting. Regardless, it's not a lock with Glenn, Chacon (either one), De La Cruz all available and all wanting to get on the court. Whoever can receive and pass nails will eventually be the one.
Upgrade from last year.
& then OH:
I think #1, our all-around and back-court passing was so inconsistent thru the Joy years, and just way too many breakdowns. This is where the most improvement has to come from. The team last 8 games of last year (except for that Riverside game) got consistent.
Morgan Chacon. eye-popping receiving/passing stats at FSU & 2nd team all ACC. 0.960 receiving which is very good, plus nails serving 0.970. and why I would peg her as the 2nd OH coming in simply for that all-around skill. on the flip side she's 5'10", hit 0.200 so there's some sacrifice on attacking but she is simply a super solid all-around player you want as an OH. If not, she could readily play DS, Serving specialist, even libero. I don't see how she doesn't get on the court somewhere some postion some time each set, cause she DOES NOT make mistakes, she'll win the war of attrition with opponents.
O'Sullivan from SDSU. Biggest reason why I think we don't miss Kash that much. Hit 0.254 on a terrible SDSU team, to be the best hitter on a terrible team means the opponents know the ball is going to you. didn't play all-around, so wouldn't expect that but you never know. Likely leading candidate for #1 OH based on experience and athletic ability, and her videos show off her athleticsm. She's good, and with solid passing and setting around her, she can be a go to terminator along with Kennedy. 1st team Big West potential.
Nembhard. a wild-card, all frosh Big12 @ Kansas State, and then couple of years of mystery and injury. wouldn't be surprised to see her start.
Andie Stone: good athlete, just a little undersized.
Jaylen Jordon: RS frosh, another good athlete, and never know, I think more a prospect for OH#2 for 2023,
Glenn: another athlete that's 5'10" unproven and we'll see.
Starr Williams. A complete wildcard for 2022. Based on small sample in Spring game, showed some definite terminating ability and received well. caveat is I wasn't convinced ready for sets that are off or serves that require more mobility. My though was biggest development is still 'lateral' movement to adjust. was rumored to be teetering to leave/xfer, and sticking it out. With a diff coaching staff, hoping she can develop some real high ceiling athletic ability. I actually thought she might be better as a middle potentially. would be a great pleasant surprise if she breaks into the starting lineup which would mean she's had a transformational Spring/Summer to do so. still think 2023 she could be that #1 dominant type OH.
OH overall: huge upgrade in depth and the #2 OH will be a massive improvement. The elephant in the rooom is replacing Kash's dominant capbilities, but then there was Kash's head-scratching dissapearances on some routine plays. I think O'Sullivan makes it a wash with her experience.
so some others:
#1: Kailia Lopez. as season wore on, showed a crazy float-drive serve that was accurate yet tough to handle, so #1 serving specialist until proven otherwise. like a top-notch relief pitcher. toughest play in VB to come off the bench cold and win points
#2: Maura Hayes: setting sub, serving sub, nice swing, can play Opp. 6'2", can see her as a front-row blocking/setter sub, as a serving sub. Lefty, great attitude. I think she'll play for some situations.
#3: Tatem Hoff. 5'10" outside hitter, legacy recruit, really don't know what to expect, so my guess is a developmental player with 2023, and we'll see.
#4: Savana Chacon: part of the Chacon duo, with the younger competing for backrow playing time,. and then we'll see if the Chacon sisters play as a tandem on the beach next spring.
all in all, it's hard to see how this team is not signficantly improved from last years solid end of year play.
UCSB returns a solid core, albeit lost two of their starting strong players.
Hawaii has a stud Middle, and solid setter, yet LOTs of question marks, but they always play hard under Robyn.
Poly didn't get any impact transfers, they lost some key players to grad and transfer, they have a schollie still for a long-shot at Caffey. They do return heavy hitting 2019 BIg West POY, 3rd team AA, Dvoracek, and 4th year all Big West setter Denecochia. Just did not bring in impact players.
the battle for the Big West title is wide open, & the Beach's for the taking.
Tyler and Staff:
the other 'wildcard'. Lot's of fanfare, and they all realize the pressure to produce (and fast) given the landscape of WVB going forward. let's face it, Tyler has never coached a D1 team as a head coach. so there is a learning curve regardless. Difference between 'rah-rah' and strategy assisstant vs. decision-making and getting a confident winning culture as a head coach.
all signs point to a really positive start, will he try a 6-2?, can he get this squad off to a collective confident start and foremost can he start the team off with consistent receiving and passing and grit that was so sorely lacking the last few years? If he imparts that level and gets a team in rhythm, Beach could be good, maybe really good. Exciting stuff!! High expectations and hopes.
Of the 8 pre-season matches, 6 should be 'winnable' and two (Oregon & Nebraska) represent challenges to play at an elite level, but those two also are undergoing lots of changes.
The first weekend is very challenging. Oregon State was bottom Pac-12, but will ahve players. Portland State returns a good team, it's their opening match vs. we'll be playing a turn-around 2nd game in that first day. Then Oregon a 3rd game in 26 hours for us, and their opener, so physically that first weekend will definitely test the depth and mentality of this team. not logistically ideal by any means.