Georgia State beach volleyball is back! What to expect on the sand

Georgia State beach volleyball player Georgia Johnson prepares to volley in a match against Lincoln Memorial University during the Diggin’ Duals tournament, April 1, 2017. Photo by Ethan Mitcham | The Signal

Georgia State beach volleyball returns to the sand for the spring season with the Stetson Tournament in DeLand, Fla. The team, led by fifth year head coach Beth Van Fleet, is returning to the sands after a 21-14 record in 2017 and going 6-5 in the CCSA conference.

The 2017 season marked the team’s fourth consecutive winning season in its fifth year of existence. With growth in each season since the program’s development, the bar will be set at its highest point yet for the 2018 season.  

This past fall, the team was able to compete in four exhibition events, which were used to see the chemistry between pairs and to get a look at the girls in battle mode according to Van Fleet. These exhibitions also are helpful when it comes to playing opponents who the team will face again in the spring when it really counts. How well the fall exhibitions prepared the team will be on display early as they face South Carolina, one of their prior opponents, in the opener.

Junior, Ashley McGinn touched on how the fall can be of benefit to the squad. “It’s nice seeing other pairs against our team and seeing who together can beat what teams,” McGinn said.

The fall exhibitions also served as a proving ground of sorts for the freshman and younger players to get their feet wet in college beach volleyball action.

The beach volleyball team will need to have the chemistry and flow locked down by Friday, Feb. 23 when they open the season versus South Carolina. The team will be aided by some young standouts. Van Fleet called this freshman class strong, and expects them all to contribute at different points this year. In particular, Van Fleet pointed out Olivia Stasevich, a sophomore out of Canton, Georgia.

Stasevich, a Dean’s List student, has been working hard this offseason to improve her game, and played with as many other girls as possible to find out what pair works best for her game. Stasevich also noted how important the team’s ritual of getting together every Saturday for team events is to building bonds and getting closer with each pair.

With the season less than a week away, the team is now focusing on high impact practices and game-like scenarios to iron out the last few wrinkles, according to Van Fleet. The feeling heading into the 2018 season is optimistic. Olivia Stasevich said the goal is to win a national championship and has confidence in the team to accomplish that goal.

Van Fleet expressed confidence in the teams ability to win a national championship as well, but said “the team is very focused on taking it game by game.” At this point, the team is focused only on the first game versus South Carolina. The combined help of some young standouts, returning players and Van Fleet’s guidance should keep the Georgia State beach volleyball team on a winning track in 2018.