LSU Beach Volleyball Begins Practice For The 2024 Season
Baton Rouge, La. – The LSU Beah Volleyball team kicked off practice for the 2024 season Tuesday afternoon.
The Sandy Tigs have competed as one of the top programs in the country throughout the past 10 seasons. Coming off a 2023 season going 27-13 overall and 12-2 at home.
LSU Beach Volleyball Head Coach Russell Brock announced the addition of two indoor volleyball players for the 2024 season. Graduate student Emily Mitter and senior Maddie Whittington will join the Sandy Tigs this spring. Paige Flickinger, both an indoor and beach volleyball player at LSU, will be back in the sand playing for the Tigers in 2024.
Mitter is an indoor volleyball transfer from Campbell University, where she accumulated 1,907 career assists and 810 career digs. As a Tiger in the 2023 season, she appeared in 55 sets and recorded her 2,000th career kill.
“We are excited to add Emily and Maddie to the family this spring,” said Brock. “Maddie is a legitimate blocker who has spent time training her ball control and passing. That’s a unique combination that fits well with our sport and will help as she transitions to the sand from indoor. We are looking forward to helping her grow in understanding and technique and love the energy she brings to the team.”
Whittington is an indoor volleyball transfer from the University of Illinois. She started in nine out of the 10 matches she played in her sophomore year, totaling 30 kills, 28 blocks, three digs and two assists.
“Emily comes over from the indoor LSU team and will bring a wonderful calm presence to our group,” said Brock “She’s grown up in the sport and will add depth to a talented group of defenders. We can’t wait to help her grow and have her help us be the best version of our team we can be.”
With the 2024 season on the horizon, the first practice centered around ball control, serving
“Practice was great,” said Brock. “Really good to have a first day in the wind. It’s always nice to get those opportunities to challenge, and with it being the first day back, you know it’s going to be challenging already. So, to really spend the day not only trying to get better but also working on our mentality, being confident, resetting, and doing all the things that can help us be better other than the technical. We got technical work. We got mental work. It was a really good first day to be back.”
The Tigers return a number of players from last season’s starting lineup, including First Team All-American Ellie Shank, Parker Bracken, Reilly Allred, Ella Larkin and Amber Haynes, that the team will look to for leadership. Allred is 59-21, Shank is 59-23, Bracken is 50-30, Larkin is 30-6 and Haynes is 19-13 in their careers as a Sandy Tig.
“We’ve got a great opportunity to use the first week when we don’t have class, and we can really invest,” said Brock. “We’re spending time on and off the court just trying to be as tight as we can be as a group and also make as much progress as we can technically and tactically as we get ready to start the season.”
The Tigers have 13 additions to the roster looking to make a difference in the lineup: seven transfers and six freshmen. Freshman Skyar Martin is a three-time USAV Beach National Champion and is an AVCA Junior Beach First Team All-American. Freshman Yali Ashush has won the Israeli Beach National Championship in 2022 and 2023 while also competing in the FIVB Futures Tournaments in the Philippines, Maldives and Australia. Amelia Taft, Forbes Hall, Tatum Finlason and Kylie Mueller will have the opportunity to compete for a spot in the lineup.
The experience coming from the seven transfers provides a competitive atmosphere on the sand. Gabi Bailey is a four-year started from the College of Charleston, where she is the sixth all-time leader in serving, tied for seventh for aces in a single season (44,2021) and single season aces per set (0.39, 2021). Emma Johnson comes from Tusculum with an overall record of 46-28 on Courts 1, 2, and 3. Amaya Messier makes her way to the bayou from the University of Utah, where she played on Courts 1 and 2 with 13 wins in the 2023 season, including wins over Arizona State, Texas and Oregon. Emily Meyer comes back to the boot from FIU with an overall 20-14 record and was a part of the C-USA All-Academic Team in 2023. Gracey Campbell is a transfer from Pepperdine, where she had an overall record of 20-13 on Court 4 in her freshman season.
Brooke Blutreich, Paige Flickinger, Kate Baker, Aubrey O’Gorman, Madison Meyers and Cassidy Chambers all look to compete for playing time as well.