At a recent Long Beach Century Club meeting, this year’s LBCC women’s volleyball team was introduced to the club. There were some oohs and aahs as members heard that some of the starters were from Texas and Utah, and somebody raised a hand at the end of the presentation to ask, “How did you hear about Long Beach City College all the way in Texas?”
The player smiled and pointed to her head coach, three-time Olympic gold medalist and Long Beach legend Misty May-Treanor. “Her,” she said.
There’s no doubt, the talent level and profile of the Vikings program is way up. The team improved dramatically in her first year as head coach in 2016, and then last year took the big leap, winning its first conference title in a decade and winning a state tournament match. In the spring, the Vikings won a conference title on the beach as well, as May-Treanor has been cultivating complete players.
“It’s always a work in progress because we only get them for two years,” she said. “I explain that to them because we’re pretty hard on them–we need them to change fast. Our goal is to get them to four year colleges.”
May-Treanor said the program’s ultimate goal is to compete for a state title. But last year they transferred seven Vikings to four-year institutions, which is the team’s other big goal.
“If we can get everyone transferred out, that’s up there with a state title to me,” she said.
This year’s team is a perfect blend of community players and out-of-state stars, the kind attracted when your head coach is a Hall of Famer. From the local area, Millikan alum Tylie Johnson and Poly alum Anisa Lopez will play outside, with Wilson alum Elsa Woods in the middle. The team will also see alums of St. Joseph, Los Al, Mayfair, and Carson in significant roles.
Calissa Candalot is a talented outside hitter from Utah, and the Vikings have a pair of tall middle blockers from Texas as well.
“We do have some height in the middle this year,” said May-Treanor, whose best hitters and middles last year had an easier time fitting in as liberos at the four-year level.
“We’re really young, we have 14 freshmen on the team this year and we’ll have five on the floor at times, so it’s taking us a while to develop a lineup,” said May-Treanor.
The Vikings are off to a 2-1 start and have frontloaded the schedule with some of the state’s top teams. Because they won a conference title last year, May-Treanor is trying to make sure her team keeps their focus on the highest competition in California, so they opened up with Irvine Valley and will face Mira Costa in the nonleague schedule, as well as traveling to Santa Barbara.
LBCC faces Mira Costa tonight at 6 p.m.–follow @562sports on Twitter for live updates.