Jessie Genger and Kayla Beal are two of the Sacramento State women’s volleyball team leaders that are enjoying every minute of their time on the court, but they look forward to a bright future off the court.
Both players have been major contributors to the team early in the season, but they have taken very different paths to get here.
Beal is a junior opposite civil engineering major who ranks fifth in the Big Sky Conference and third on the team with 43 total blocks so far this season.
She began her volleyball career in Dixon. She was a third generation student at Dixon High School where her grandfather had graduated from.
Beal’s career almost ended before it even got going, but her mom encouraged her to continue on.
“My mom suggested that I play club volleyball and I thought it was a great idea at the time,” said Beal. “When it came time for tryouts I got nervous and I did not want to go so I started crying.”
The motivation provided by her mom gave Beal the push that propelled her to become a three-year varsity starter while being named to the All-Conference team and her high school team’s most valuable player.
Beal’s home town is a 30 minute drive from the Sac State campus. She visited the University of Nevada Reno and also contemplated attending New Mexico State. However, when Sac State head coach Ruben Volta offered her a scholarship she gladly accepted, but her decision was not without reservations.
“On my visit I was concerned that it was too close to home,” said Beal. “It turned out to be the perfect distance because I can have fans at the games and I see my family every other weekend, but it is not so close that I have to see them all the time.”
Volleyball is no doubt a team sport and Beal could not ask for a better teammate than the senior co-captain Genger.
Genger leads her time in kills with more than three kills per set. She set a career-high in kills this season with 20 against Boise State University on Aug. 31
The communications major and Kent, Wash. native was a two-sport star in high school. Genger was named All-League for basketball in high school and had an offer from University of Montana to play for the same head coach that her mother played for, but she was drawn to Volleyball.
Genger started her career at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash. but after her sophomore year she decided that it was time for a change.
As a junior, Genger joined Sac State and she was a perfect fit for Volta’s coaching style and the fun atmosphere that the Hornets create.
This season, Genger received All-Tournament nods in the College of Charleston tournament and the Sac State Invitational.
Although she loves the sport of volleyball, Genger looks forward to a new chapter opening after graduation.
“Honestly, I have never had that dream of going on to be a famous volleyball player,” said Genger.
With her volleyball career coming to an end, Genger will have to find a way to fill the void left by the sport she has known for so long.
“Next summer I won’t have to worry about my workouts or showing up to school early for preseason,” said Genger. “I want (to) intern for possibly the Sacramento River Cats or even Sac State, and I love to coach too.”
Genger has three more orders of business before she caps her volleyball career. She wants to win the Big Sky Conference, win the conference tournament and make it into the NCAA tournament.
Having a teammate like Beal on her “opposite” side is a definite advantage.
“I can count on (Beal),” said Genger. “When she gets set I can count on her to put the ball away. (We) put a lot of faith into her.”
Beal and Genger are prepared for the challenges ahead and they are willing to do anything that helps the teams win.
This dynamic duo can be seen live on Thursday when their Hornets take on one of the Big Sky’s top teams as Northern Arizona visits The Nest at 7 p.m.
Joe Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.