CSUB Volleyball Looks Back on Exceptional 2021 Season

BAKERFIELD, Calif. – The dust has settled on what was an exciting and successful year for the CSU Bakersfield volleyball team and the Roadrunners have had a chance to reflect on the 2021 season. CSUB sprinted out to a fast start and used that momentum to exceed expectations in a tough Big West Conference schedule. Bakersfield’s accomplishments helped the `Runners earn a postseason appearance as CSUB competed in the NIVC in December.

“This team absolutely exceeded my expectations this season in so many different ways,” said Giovana Melo, CSUB’s Director of Volleyball. “I knew we had the potential to be good having so many seniors, but I wasn’t sure what level we could get to. I think having players who have been together for a few years was a pretty important key to the success.”

“We didn’t practice or compete for a full year,” Melo said about her team, “and we were able to step on the court and get into a very high level, which just showed their commitment. They put in a lot of work to stay healthy, physically and mentally. COVID was hard on them but they continued to stay focused on the future and it paid off. I am very proud of them.”

The `Runners wrapped up the 2021 season with an 18-11 record. Their 62.1 winning percentage is the highest in Melo’s tenure and the second-highest for Bakersfield since the `Runners jumped up to NCAA Division I in 2007. The NIVC berth was also the third postseason appearance for CSUB in just Melo’s seventh competitive season at the helm .

For their accomplishments, three `Runners earned Big West All-Conference honors at the end of the regular season. Seleisa Elisaia was tabbed as a First Team selection while Hayley McCluskey and Brooke Boiseau took home Honorable Mention nods. On Nov. 1, libero Paige Calvin was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Week.

Bakersfield also enjoyed several big milestones, records, and accomplishments throughout the 2021 season. Some of the highlights are below:
Giovana Melo recorded her 350th collegiate victory (Aug. 28 vs. Western Illinois) and her 100th win at CSUB (Nov. 6 at CSUN).
– Junior outside hitter Hayley McCluskey tallied 25 kills on Sept. 10 vs. Utah State, the second-highest single-match kill total in the Big West throughout the entire season.
– McCluskey (Oct. 30 vs. Cal State Fullerton) and fellow outside hitter Milica Vukobrat (Oct. 9 at UC Riverside) both reached the 500 career kill milestone.
– Junior setter Seleisa Elisaia reached the 2,000 career assists milestone (Dec. 3 at Weber State), becoming just the fifth `Runner in CSUB’s Division I history to accomplish the feat.
– With eight blocks in the NIVC game at Weber State, Hana Makonova resets CSUB’s Division I single-season total blocks record with 113.
– CSUB finished the season as the Big West leader in aces per set (1.59), ranking 66th in the country.
– Elisaia was the only player in the country to average at least 9.0 assists and 1.3 kills per set.
– Several `Runners earned Top 10 Big West finishes in their respective categories:
Seleisa Elisaia: 9.23 assists per set (5th), 0.27 aces per set (9th), and 0.93 blocks per set (9th)
Milica Vukobrat: 0.31 aces per set (6th)
Hana Makonova: 1.03 blocks per set (7th)
Brooke Boiseau: .303 hitting percentage (9th)
Paige Calvin: 3.63 digs per set (9th)

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