02/17/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 02/17/2020 21:15
'We are feeling really good about this season,' said , Head Coach of the CSUB beach volleyball team. 'We have been having really good practices and the team is working super hard. The change of mindset has been enormous and that's taking them to a good level of playing and building mental strength very quickly. We're excited to see them compete.'
The `Runners made marked improvement from the 2017 season to 2018 with the latter season boasting eight wins. Last year's squad raised that total to nine wins and Benatti's 2020 team will attempt to break into the double-digit win total for the first time since 2015.
CSUB took a big hit last May when its No. 1 pair of and graduated. When asked about replacing the team's top pairing, Benatti pointed to last year's No. 2 pair with confidence: ' and have a lot of experience after playing together last year, where they grew a lot. They have this strong bond on and off the court that puts them in a unique position to honor the No. 1 spot, which was well represented by Mattie and Bri last year.'
While the rest of the CSUB Athletics Department will join the Big West Conference this summer, the `Runner beach volleyball team already competes in the league. Big West beach volleyball is highly competitive and CSUB will have to put its best foot forward to tackle some of the nation's top programs on the sand.
'We absolutely benefit from playing in such a strong conference,' Benatti said of his squad's conference schedule. 'Facing those big teams raises our level of playing so much and puts us in a great position, mentally and physically.'
The 2020 season kicks off at home this weekend when the `Runners host a pair of doubleheaders. On Friday, Feb. 21, CSUB will play host to Westcliff and Marymount (Calif.) at the Barnes Beach Volleyball Complex at the SRC. Bakersfield will face Westcliff at 10 a.m. before taking on Marymount at 2 p.m., while the two visiting teams will clash in between. The following day, the `Runners will play a true doubleheader against Vanguard with the first of two matches starting at noon.
Admission to CSUB's home beach volleyball matches is free and fans are welcome to come out, soak up some rays, and enjoy the sandy action. Fans who are unable to attend can follow along with @CSUB_Volleyball on Twitter (link above) for updates and a full recap after each day of competition.