McNeese Names Sasha Karelov as new Head Volleyball Coach
LAKE CHARLES— Former Duke and Long Beach State volleyball standout, Sasha Karelov, has been named McNeese Cowgirl volleyball head coach, Athletics Director Heath Schroyer announced on Friday. The contract is a three-year deal that will run through the 2025 season.
“I’m really excited to hire Sasha Karelov as our next volleyball coach,” Schroyer said. “I absolutely loved her energy and plan for McNeese volleyball. She is a bright, young star in the coaching profession, and I couldn’t be happier to hand the keys of the program to such a bright young and authentic coach. She checked every box I was looking for.
“She will be great in the community, she knows our team well and will help them take the next step. She has the energy and personality to build a program on the court and in this great community. Poke nation will fall in love with coach Karelov.”
Karelov most recently spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi where she helped the Islanders to the 2021 regular-season title, back-to-back Southland Conference Tournament champions (2020, 2021) and NCAA Tournament participants.
While with the Islanders, Karelov coached both the two-time SLC Setter of the Year and SLC Libero of the Year in Faith Panhans and Carissa Barnes. Barnes also led the nation in digs per set this season. In 2020 she helped the Islanders to a Top 5 in kills and Top 15 in hitting percentage in the nation.
In addition, Karelov coached 12 All-SLC selections, 10 SLC All-Academic selections, six SLC All-Tournament selections and five AVCA All-Region selections.
“I would like to thank Dr. Daryl Burckel, Heath Schroyer, Bridget Martin, and the rest of the search committee for their confidence in selecting me as the next head coach at McNeese. The opportunity to lead this group of women is a dream come true and I can’t wait to get to work. From the moment I stepped on campus, everyone I came into contact with made me feel comfortable and at home. I’m excited to get involved in the community and show recruits how amazing the McNeese family is.”
While at Duke, Karelov earned AVCA All-America honors and was a three-time AVCA All-East Coast Region selection. She earned All-ACC honors three times and was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. In four seasons for the Blue Devils, Karelov tallied 2,023 digs, 373 assists and 76 service aces in 123 career matches. She became just the third Duke player to ever surpass 2,000 digs and holds the program record with 44 digs in a single match.
After graduating from Duke in December of 2016 with her Bachelors in Public Policy Studies, Karelov transferred to Long Beach State where she was a two-time First Team All-Big West performer in beach volleyball. She graduated from Long Beach State in 2018 with her Master’s in Kinesiology.
Karelov also competed on the AVP Professional Beach Volleyball Tour where she qualified for two main draws- AVP Huntington and AVP Hermoso in 2019.
Karelov has also worked at the Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences as the Girls Indoor/Beach Volleyball Program Director in Santa Monica, Calif. During the 2017-18 year, she was an assistant coach at Cerritos College in Norwalk, Calif., while she finished her master’s degree. Karelov has also coached for the Triangle Volleyball Club, the Orange County Volleyball Club, and the Actyve Volleyball Club.
● 2021 Southland Conference Regular Season Champions
● 2021 and 2020 Southland Conference Tournament Champions
● 2021 Player, Setter, and Libero of the Year - Libero leads the country in digs per set
● 2020 Setter and Libero of the Year
● 2020 team was top 5 in kills per set / top 15 in hitting percentage in the nation
● 2019 Setter and Freshman of the Year
● 12 All-Conference, 6 SLC All-Tournament selections, 5 All-Region, and 10 All-Academic selections
● Back-to-back AVCA Team Academic Awards, CoSIDA 1st-Team All-American
COLLEGIATE PLAYING CAREER
● Member of Division I indoor volleyball team as libero
● 3x All-ACC
●2016 ACC Defensive Player of the Year
Long Beach State
● Member of Division I beach volleyball team as graduate student transfer
● 2x All-Big West
PROFESSIONAL PLAYING CAREER
Competed on AVP Professional Beach Volleyball Tour - Qualified for two Main
Draws in 2019 at AVP Huntington and AVP Hermosa
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