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Long Beach State Volleyball

Long Beach State’s Gementera, Hagenah Break Beach Volleyball Record

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Malia Gementera and Taylor Hagenah knew each other well before they became best friends and teammates with Long Beach State beach volleyball.

“We were like enemies,” Gementera recalled. “In (junior beach volleyball tournaments) we would always meet in the finals and stuff. We played against each other all the time.”

When their teammates both went to UCLA, it made sense that Gementera and Hagenah would look for another elite partner they were familiar with. Now the LBSU freshman duo is winning all of the time together.

Gementera and Hagenah set a new LBSU program record with 28 victories this season, and they helped LBSU win its first ever Big West Conference Tournament last weekend in Hawaii.

Gementera and Hagenah started their first year as the No. 3 duo for LBSU, and quickly moved up to the No. 2 spot where they went an impressive 16-1. This weekend they’ll be competing as the No. 1 pair for the first time.

“I think (LBSU coach Mike Campbell) put us together because of our chemistry,” Hagenah said. “We’re both dialed and in good sync. We have good communication and we know what each other needs when we have our highs and lows.”

“It’s being best friends outside of volleyball… We just connected super quickly and naturally,” Gementera added.


Both Gementera and Hagenah committed to attend LBSU when they were in eighth and ninth grade. Coach Campbell said he was impressed that Hagenah played multiple sports as a team captain, and really liked Gementera’s style when he coached against her in an indoor club match when she was 14.

“Taking a risk that early really paid off,” Campbell said. “We definitely hit some home runs with our recruiting.”

Hagenah chose her desired university early in order to, “Not stress out about the college I would go to so I could just focus on getting better as a player.”

“She’s just done an incredible job getting herself prepared for this moment,” Campbell said. “That’s with her club, when she played in juniors, and just personally being very mature with her game.”

Gementera never sent out any film to college coaches to start the recruiting process because she really liked what she saw in Campbell’s coaching style at summer camps early in high school.

“She’s very humble, very quiet, but she has this competitiveness,” Campbell said. “I saw it when she was young. I kind of knew it would manifest at the next level into something really special.”

Gementera and Hagenah’s 28 wins this year breaks the record that was previously set by Jenelle Hudson and Megan Kruidhoff in 2017 when they went 27-5. 

“She’s a really good partner because we help each other out,” Gementera said of Hagenah. “I think we fully trust each other.”

“There’s times when I’m pulling (off the net) and there’s a ball coming towards me, but she’s right there ready to take it if I wasn’t there,” Hagenah said of Gementera. “She has really good court vision and awareness, and she’s quick too, so she can show one way and go the other. That helps us get a lot of balls up in transition.”

Gementera and Hagenah were named the Big West Pair of the Week at the end of the regular season for their record setting performance, and are the AVCA National Pair of the Week after an undefeated weekend at the Big West Championships.

JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.