Competition heating up on Mesa volleyball team
By PATTI ARNOLD
When Mesa State College’s volleyball camp opens at the new-look Brownson Arena next month, Dave Fleming expects to see plenty of competition for playing time.
That’s because the fifth-year coach not only has 10 returning players from last season, but he signed three players in December and three more this summer who he can see pushing for playing time right away.
“We could have a pretty good all-freshman team,” Fleming said Wednesday after announcing the final new Mavs, two liberos and an outside hitter.
Megan Rush, a 5-foot-7 libero from Chandler, Ariz., and Sunni Rae Baird, a 5-6 libero/setter from Bloomfield, N.M., will compete to play in the back row along with early signee Kendra Glendenning, a 5-7 setter from Clovis, Calif.
The Mavs return their setter from last season, junior Tara King, but have an opening for a libero with the graduation of Ashley Loftsgard.
“Megan is a great libero and has a chance to contribute right away,” Fleming said in a release announcing the signings.
“She is a nails passer and a very good defender. She has played at a high level with both her high school and her club team and should be ready to go when she gets to campus.”
Rush won a state volleyball championship her senior year and was on the state runner-up soccer team.
Baird won a state title in sprint hurdles and pole vault and is versatile on the volleyball court, playing outside hitter and setter in high school and libero on her club team. When she wasn’t winning state titles, she was becoming the class valedictorian.
The third player to sign this summer is Kelly Regimbal, a 6-foot outside hitter from Yorba Linda, Calif., who assistant coach Maggie Chlebana spotted during a tournament in Texas.
“Kelly has a great arm swing, can play all the way around and will be a big blocking presence at the net,” Fleming said.
Fleming signed two middle blockers early, Courtney Searls, who is 5-11 from Upland, Calif., and Rachael Beaty, a 6-1 middle from Farmington, N.M.
“We’ve got a really good power core coming back,” Fleming said. “The freshmen are going to have to push to play, and push hard, but that’s a good problem for a coaching staff to have.”
All of the players visited campus and checked out the expansion projects.
“When you tell them we’re spending $43 million on our building and $80 million on campus, it doesn’t hurt,” he said.
“It shows them athletics are important to our students.”