Giovana Melo will begin her third season as CSU Bakersfield’s Director of Volleyball in the Fall of 2016.
Melo guided the Roadrunners to the program’s first NCAA Division I Tournament appearance in her first season after CSU Bakersfield took home the team’s first WAC Tournament title. The ‘Runners dropped one set in three WAC Tournament matches. Melo is 16-15 at Bakersfield. In addition to her indoor duties, she oversees sand volleyball program operations at Bakersfield during the spring season.
In year two, the Roadrunners finished second in the WAC with a 10-4 league record and advanced to the WAC Tournament finals where CSUB dropped a 3-0 decision to NM State. Two players; Luiza Martins and Kelsee Sawyer, earned first team All-Conference honors while Carol Grasso was selected second team All-Conference. Melo is 29-29 at the helm of the Roadrunner program.
Melo was wildly successful as a head coach in six years at Western Nebraska Community College where her teams reached five NJCAA Division I final fours and won the 2010 NJCAA national championship. Her teams won six Region IX championships while posting a career record of 262-20.
Melo earned an impressive list of accolades while at Western Nebraska. She was named Region IX Coach of the Year five times, District J Coach of the Year six times, American Volleyball Coaches Association Two-Year College West Region Coach of the Year four times along with being named to the AVCA ’30 under 30’ Award list three times. She was also named Omaha World Herald Midland Coach of the Year in 2011.
An outstanding recruiter with international ties, six current or former Roadrunners, Amanda Schoene, Megan Johnson, Danika Youngblood and Luzia Martins, Fernanda Goncalves and Debora Araujo played for Melo at Western Nebraska. Araujo and Goncalves were members of the 2010 National Championship team at WNCC before earning first team All-Conference honors at CSUB in 2013. Martins was selected selected second team All-Conference and was named to the All-WAC Tournament team in 2014.
Melo began her collegiate playing career at Western Nebraska before transferring to Arizona State. Melo was a two-year starter at setter for the Sun Devils and served as a team captain as a senior. Melo would begin her coaching career at Arizona State, serving as an assistant coach for three years.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from Arizona State and her Master’s Degree of Higher and Post-Secondary Education at ASU.
Assistant Coach / Head Beach Volleyball Coach
Cesar Benatti will begin his third season with the CSU Bakersfield program in the Fall of 2016. Benatti was named head beach volleyball coach at CSUB on June 29, 2016 and will begin his first season at the helm of the Roadrunner beach squad in the Spring of 2017.
Benatti played professional volleyball in Brazil until 2000, when he started as an assistant coach in Esporte Clube Pinheiros. In Pinheiros, Benatti was a two time state champion and a two time Metropolitan area champion. From 2002-2009, Benatti was the conditioning and assistant coach at Club Athlético Paulistano. In his time with Athlético Paulistano, Benatti’s 17 and under team was Metropolitan champions in 2006 and state champions in 2007.
Benatti also worked as head coach at three universities in Brazil; FMU from 2002-06, University Mackenzie from 2006-09,where he won two state championships, and Casper Líbero from 2012-14, winning several local tournaments.
From 2009-11, Benatti worked with CSU Bakersfield director of volleyball Giovana Melo at Western Nebraska Community College. Benatti was part of the Western Nebraska staff that led the program to three Region IX Championships and 2010 NJCAA Division I National Championship.
Benatti returned to Brazil in 2012, becoming the head coach at one of the main volleyball programs in the State of São Paulo, Ibirapuera, which holds more than 80 Volleyball athletes training and competing for the club, in four ages/gender categories.
Mackenzie Westphal will begin her third season with the CSU Bakersfield program in the Fall of 2016.
After serving as the volunteer assistant with the CSUB program in 2014, Westphal is in her second season an assistant coach for the Roadrunner indoor program. She also serves as an assistant with the CSUB beach volleyball program.
Westphal played two years at Western Nebraska Community College under current Bakersfield director of volleyball Giovana Melo. She then played one year at Millsaps College (Miss.) before transferring to University of Northern Colorado where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Graduate Assistant Coach
Molly O'Hagan is in her first season as a graduate assistant at CSU Bakersfield.
She will work with both the Roadrunners during the Fall and with the CSUB beach volleyball program in the Spring.
O'Hagan graduated in 2015 after helping lead the 'Runners to the 2014 WAC Tournament title and an appearance in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. O'Hagan was named WAC Tournament MVP in 2014 after earning first team All-Conference honors.
O'Hagan spent 2015 playing professional volleyball in Germany for VC Nienburg.