NCAA: Badgers’ Nelson going to LSU, men’s vball gets one, loses one

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Wisconsin All-American middle blocker Haleigh Nelson will play beach volleyball at LSU/Wisconsin photo

This is a good day to clean out the volleyball notebook, especially after the week we had at VolleyballMag.com. There was the NCAA’s National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championships in Gulf Shores, Ala. and the National Collegiate Men’s Championship in Columbus, Ohio, and the AVP Huntington Beach. And a little off-the-sand stuff you might have followed in pro beach volleyball. So …

Start with Haleigh Nelson: The former Wisconsin All-American middle blocker announced Monday that she is going to go to grad school at LSU and play beach volleyball. It’s becoming a familiar trend and one that worked pretty well for Brittany Howard. The former Stanford All-American just finished a great season on the beach with Pepperdine.

Nelson, who is from Cary, N.C., is best of friends with LSU indoors player Cheyenne Wood, who will be a senior defensive specialist/libero for the Tigers. They played together on state-championship teams at Cardinal Gibbons High School.

“I was like, why would I pass up an opportunity to continue being a student-athlete when that is the best role I’ve ever had?” Nelson told Madison.com. “And I only have one year left to do it, so why not? It made sense for me. And I thought that continuing school would make me a better job candidate in future.”

It works out perfectly athletically and academically, she added.

“LSU was one of the few schools where I could get my MBA straight out of undergrad. Their grad program is a two-year program, which is better for me because I’ll only be playing beach for one year and then I’ll have that second year to get some experience and really work on where I want to fall in the job market.”

 

Here’s another transfer of note: Ohio State is getting Jasmine Koonts from Arizona State. She’s a 6-2 middle blocker from Houston who will have two years of eligibility.

Goodbye Cal Baptist men: This is straight from the Press-Enterprise of Riverside:

California Baptist will move to NCAA Division I and the Western Athletic Conference without men’s volleyball.

CBU announced Monday it was dropping the program and will add beach volleyball at a later date. The school will begin its Division I transition in the 2018-2019 season.

The Lancer men’s volleyball program started in 1999 and immediately became an NAIA powerhouse, winning eight national titles. As the CBU athletic department transitioned to NCAA Division II, the volleyball team joined the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in 2013. The MPSF is arguably the toughest conference in the nation and made up of primarily Division I teams. After a respectable first season in which the Lancers finished 16-14 overall and 12-12 in conference, the team struggled, going 12-74 in MPSF play over the past four seasons.

The conference is also splitting apart as the Big West Conference adds men’s volleyball beginning in 2018, cutting the MPSF essentially in half. The WAC does not currently offer men’s volleyball.

Hello Daemen men: NCAA volleyball lost one but will gain one. Boosted by a $60,000 grant from MotorMVB, an organization devoted to helping grow the men’s game, Division II Daemen of Amherst, N.Y., will become the first school in the state to offer the sport and give scholarships.

Among the Division III schools in New York offering men’s volleyball are SUNY New Paltz, Hunter and NYU.

Daemen, which will begin play in the 2018-19 school year, said the money from MotorMVB will be dispersed over three years. Don Gleason, who was an assistant with the Daemen women’s program, will be the men’s head coach.

Final AVCA men’s poll: Ohio State won the national championship and moved up a notch to No. 1. The team the Buckeyes beat in the title match, BYU, moved up from fourth to No. 2. Long Beach State, which lost in the semifinals, went from first to No. 3.

FYI, in the preseason poll last December, Ohio State was No. 1, UCLA, a team ultimately decimated by injuries, was second and BYU was No. 3.

Click here for the final men’s poll.

Final AVCA beach poll: USC went wire to wire as No. 1. Pepperdine, No. 2 much of the season, moved back to the second spot, while Hawai’i moved two notches to third. Florida State was fourth, followed by UCLA at No. 5. The aforementioned LSU got its highest ranking ever at No. 6.

Click here for the final beach poll.

NCAA D-I indoors jobs still open: There are still schools without head coaches pretty late in the recruiting game, including Cal (Rich Feller retired), Southern Illinois (Justin Ingram left to be head coach at UIC), San Francisco (Vicki Brown left to be an assistant at Iowa) and George Mason (Jackie Simpson-Kirr left to be an assistant at Clemson). There are also openings at Coppin State and Saint Peters.

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