LSU Gold

Beach Set To Begin 2024 Season In Houston, Texas

Beach Set To Begin 2024 Season In Houston, Texas

Houston, Tx. – The No. 6 LSU Beach Volleyball Team will start its season at the Third Coast College Classic in Houston, Texas, where the Sandy Tigs will play four matches over the course of Friday and Saturday.

“I’m really excited about the start of the season,” said head coach Russell Brock. “This group has done such a great job of becoming a fantastically committed family, and I’m looking forward to seeing how that translates to our play against other teams. We have some great tests this weekend and there’s really no chance that we come out of this stronger than we go in. Competition is what we need right now to see where we are and what we need to work on.”

The Tigers will face No. 15 Washington on Friday afternoon at 1 PM CT, followed by a matchup against Houston Christian at 5 PM. LSU continues play Sunday morning with matches against Central Arkansas at 9 AM and No. 4 TCU at 1 PM.

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.

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 starter 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. Emily 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. Maddie 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.

Brooke Blutreich, Paige Flickinger, Kate Baker, Aubrey O’Gorman, Madison Meyers and Cassidy Chambers all look to compete for playing time as well.

“The game plan for the weekend is to execute what we have been training,” said Brock. “We won’t know much about anyone, so focusing on our side of the net and what we can control will be the main task. This game is unpredictable, and there’s lots of distraction, so we want to stay focused, grounded and committed to playing Sandy Tig ball!”