Nieto Named AVCA Thirty Under 30 Award Winner
LEXINGTON, Kentucky – Cal beach volleyball assistant coach Rachel Nieto was named as a 2021 American Volleyball Coaches Association Thirty Under 30 Award Winner the organization announced on Monday.
Nieto becomes the second beach volleyball coach to be honored with the award. Former head coach Meagan Owusu was named to the AVCA Thirty Under 30 Award list in 2018.
Nieto, 26, is in her second season working with the Cal beach volleyball program. She was a volunteer assistant coach last season as the Bears went 9-1 and finished the year ranked ninth overall, the highest ranking in school history, including a season-ending win over No. 5 USC before the pandemic shut down the 2020 season.
She was promoted this season to be the team's assistant coach, helping Cal to a 14-11 record with four wins over ranked opponents.
"It is unbelievably humbling to be honored by the AVCA," Nieto said. "As a young coach, everyday there is constant learning and growing. As I look at the coaches around me, I am inspired to continue to fine tune and work on ways to get better. I try and shape my coaching philosophy based on the amazing coaches I have been exposed to, and create a framework that will get the most out of each athlete. Every player reacts differently to coaching styles and I want to be able to adapt to how I can be the most effective to each individual. It's ever-changing and I want to be ever-learning. I am honored to receive this award and grateful I get to coach and be around the most amazing group of people."
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.
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.