Hitters Ready to Swing Away
Aug. 20, 2011
FRESNO, Calif. - With fall camp winding down today for the Bulldog volleyball team, the Fresno State outside and right-side hitters are ready to swing away when the team takes the court at the Save Mart Center next week.
After transitioning into one of the most dominant and versatile outside hitters on the West Coast, junior Marissa Brand worked even harder this past offseason to get even better and paired up with Agraz for a variety of doubles tournaments.
"Marissa will be one of the best outside hitters in the conference this year," Netherby-Sewell said of the WAC's double-double leader (12) in 2010.. "She was finally able to spend a spring training in the position and developed fast. She's big, jumps well, sees well and loves to win. She's one of our best defenders and improved her passing and serving game a lot this spring. Now that she's an upperclassman, I think she'll be hard to reckon with."
While Cecilia Agraz, who is also one of the University President's top scholars through the Smittcamp Family Honors College, also put in the time to work on her entire game to be in position for a breakout junior season.
"CC has been our best example of hard work and exceptional performance in the classroom for two years now," Netherby-Sewell said. "She's ready to make an impact on the volleyball court. She's fit, has imposing size, understands the game well and is becoming a very powerful outside hitter. She's a triple-threat with a killer serve, heavy swing and smooth passing ability. I think this is going to be a breakout year for her!"
Brand and Agraz will be featured on the outside along Jaimee-Lee Morrow, a talented incoming freshman from Australia.
"We haven't met a young woman in years of recruiting that works quite as hard at getting what she wants as Jaimee," Netherby-Sewell said. "She has no limits to what she can accomplish. Jaimee has played at the highest level in Australia and works incessantly at improving her abilities. She's a smooth passer and fierce competitor. Though she has some developing to do, I simply can't even guess how good she can be this year."
On the right side, Netherby-Sewell could insert sophomore Megan Callahan or either one of a twin threat in sisters Katie and Molly Pearson, who are all looking to make significant contributions in 2011.
"The right-side position is going to be a hard-fought role this year to earn and keep," Netherby-Sewell said. "Megan produced some of the most impressive numbers in the position in late fall and spring. She has a gun that's hard to block and undoubtedly will help strengthen our pin-hitter production this fall. Megan is limitless in her potential."
The Pearson twins join the Bulldog program out of San Jose's Presentation High School where they were multiple sport stars.
"Katie has a multitude of talents to offer this team," Netherby-Sewell said. "With the little experience she has training solely in our sport, her skill level is very high. She's tall, athletic, smooth and will put in the work to find a position to compete on this team. We were fortunate to add her to our group."
Molly also adds great size and athleticism to the Fresno State arsenal.
"Molly also is a high-achiever, who has never been able to spend much time focused on volleyball," Netherby-Sewell said. "Now that she will be, I'm excited to see what she's capable of. She has experience in the middle, but she's suited to be a pin hitter and has limitless potential. I'm excited to see what position she'll make an impact in her first year."
The outside and right-side hitters will be key to the Bulldogs' ability to continue to climb back into the national conversation. In addition to rigorous offseason conditioning, Netherby-Sewell also brought in Mallori Gibson, a two-time All-Big West outside hitter at Pacific and Greek Cup Gold Medalist, as an assistant coach.
Every position on the floor will have a competition for playing time as the Bulldogs' deep squad sets its sight on starting strong during a challenging non-conference schedule before making a final run through the Western Athletic Conference.
Fresno State is less than a week away from opening against Cal Poly on Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. in the Save Mart Center.
"We Are Your Team!" - Stay connected with Fresno State Athletics on Facebook and Twitter (@FSAthletics). You can watch the Bulldogs all season at the Save Mart Center as season tickets are available for $42 (adults) and $25 (senior and youth). A Family & Friends Flex Pack can be purchased for only $80 and allows four fans to attend every match. The `Dogs begin the season by hosting the Fresno State Classic Aug. 26-27.