PokeCast Returns Tonight With Coach Gary Goff And More
LAKE CHARLES, LA: PokeCast returns after the Thanksgiving break tonight hosted by McNeese sports insider Jim Gazzolo, right here on The Lake.
Every Wednesday at 6:00pm CST here on The Lake, Jim Gazzolo sits down with McNeese coaches and members of the sports department to talk all things McNeese sports.
The Cowboy football team is coming off the worst season in program history with a winless record according to the NCAA (they didn't count the Northwestern forfeit as a win). The Pokes are rumored to have one of the best recruiting classes this offseason in the Southland Conference. Goff will be on the bubble next season, as the administration, donors, and the fans will expect a minor miracle in his 3rd year at rebuilding a once proud program.
Also on Pokecast tonight, Head Volleyball Coach Sasha Karelov. The Cowgirls were 16-17 this past season losing in the second round of the Southland Conference tournament against her former team the Corpus Christi Islanders.
Sasha Karelov is in her second season as head coach of the Cowgirls, being named head coach in January (2022).
In her first season at the helm of the Cowgirls, Karelov led a Cowgirl squad that led the nation in digs per set (18.53), an 18-16 overall record, a 13-5 Southland Conference record (tied for 2nd), and advanced to the semifinals of the 2022 Southland Conference Tournament as the No. 3 seed.
Karelov coached the 2022 Southland Conference "Freshman of the Year" in Sanni Rantanen the program's first AVCA All-Region selection and the Louisiana "Libero of the Year" in Bailey Tillman.
The former Duke and Long Beach State volleyball standout spent 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 appearances.
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. In 2020 she helped the Islanders to a Top 5 in kills and Top 15 in hitting percent in the nation.
In addition while at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Karelov coached 12 All-SLC selections, 10 SLC All-Academic selections, six SLC All-Tournament selections, and five AVCA All-Region selections.
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 which ranks her third in career 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 still holds the single-match program record with 44 digs (vs. Notre Dame/2016).
After graduating from Duke in December of 2016 with her Bachelor 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 Hermosa in 2019.
Karelov 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 also coached for the Triangle Volleyball Club, the Orange County Volleyball Club, and the Actyve Volleyball Club.
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Gallery Credit: Dave Schultz