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Nieto, Styles Added To Beach Volleyball Staff

Dec 4, 2020

BERKELEY – Beach Volleyball interim head coach Derek Olson added two members to his staff for the upcoming 2021 season. Rachel Nieto will be the assistant coach after serving as the volunteer assistant coach on last year's team. Dancer Styles will be the volunteer assistant coach.
Nieto joined the staff this past January after Meagan Owusu went on maternity leave. Owusu stepped down from her position as head coach in October and Olson was named interim head coach after spending last year as the acting head coach.
Nieto helped guide the Bears to a 9-1 record before the season was canceled due to COVID-19 in the spring. Cal finished the year ranked No. 9 in the final AVCA Poll, the highest-ever ranking in school history. The team was on a nine-game winning streak and their last match was a 3-2 victory over no. 5 USC when the season was canceled.
Prior to Cal, Nieto has coached with Los Alamitos High School, working with the indoor team. She has also worked with SandSoul Beach Volleyball Club and Kleos Volleyball Club.
Nieto has a long history as a successful beach volleyball player. As a collegiate player at Long Beach State, she earned a first-team AVCA All-America honors and was a three-time first-team Big West selection. She holds the record for most wins in Long Beach State school history, playing as part of the school's top pair for her final three seasons.
Nieto helped Long Beach State to a runner-up finish at the 2015 AVCA Beach Volleyball Championships and helped the team qualify for the 2017 NCAA Championship. She also served as a defensive specialist on the 49ers' indoor team throughout her collegiate career.
"Rachel stepped in last year and did a phenomenal job as a volunteer," Olson said. "She loves the game and loves teaching it. Our team responded well to her leadership, because what they see in Rachel is someone who has recently walked in their shoes and was extremely successful in doing so. She was not a beach recruit when she arrived at Long Beach St. for indoor, but she left as the most successful player in LBSU history. That's because of the hard work on and off the court that she put in with her time as a student-athlete and she has continued to do that in her coaching. She is a rising star in the coaching world and will be extremely helpful in growing our program."
Nieto graduated from Long Beach State in 2017 with a degree in psychology and obtained a master's degree in sport and exercise psychology from Long Beach State in 2019. She is a native of Walnut Creek and attended Las Lomas High School.
In addition to Nieto, Cal will add Styles to the staff as a volunteer assistant coach.
Styles is an accomplished beach volleyball player and coach. At the age of 17, he became the youngest player in AVP history to qualify for the main draw in Manhattan Beach, California. He has spent many years playing on and off the AVP tour.
In 2011, Styles returned to coaching and began consulting for several youth organizations and high schools. In 2013, he became the assistant coach for the Branson School girl's varsity squad. The team won the CIF Division V State Championship in 2015 and was the runner-up in 2013 and 2014. Styles is the head coach of Branson's varsity squad and has led the team to three Nor-Cal Championships.
In 2013, Styles founded Golden Gate Volleyball, a beach club based in Sausalito, California. As part of the club he worked with current Cal seniors Caroline Schafer and Katie Smoot. Smoot is a transfer from Arizona who joined the indoor team this year.
"We are extremely fortunate to have Dancer Styles with us this year," Olson said. "He absolutely embodies what the Northern California beach volleyball culture is all about. He has watched the sport take off over the last ten years and has been leading the charge in this area since the beginning. He is an accomplished player, a very experienced coach and has a deep love for the game that I know is going to serve our team well. While talking to him about the position it was evident from the beginning that he just wants to serve this program and I think we are extremely lucky to have him."