Melo moving on from WNCC


After six years guiding the Western Nebraska Community College volleyball team, head coach Giovana Melo is headed to the Division I level after being selected by the University of California Bakersfield to be the Director of volleyball.


Melo's duties with the Roadrunner program will be the head volleyball coach in the fall and oversee the sand volleyball program operations in the spring season.


Melo is excited for the challenge.


"It is definitely a great step for me," Melo said. "I am looking forward to taking that step in my career. Of course I am upset to leave this team and this program, but I am ready to make that step forward."


Melo has been successful as a head coach in six years for the Cougars, where her teams went to the final four five of the six years she was coach, including winning a national championship in 2010. Melo has a career coaching record of 262-20.


Melo knows a little bit about the program at Bakersfield since three former players, Fernanda Goncalves, Deborah Araujo, and Danika Youngblood, were part of the program. Youngblood will be a senior, while the other two were seniors this past fall.


"That is the biggest reason I went there because I know where the program is at because I watching them [former Cougar players] the whole time they were playing," Melo said. "I was able to learn a little about the history and the talent. It was a good fit for me."


WNCC president Todd Holcomb said they are sorry to see Melo go, but wishes her the best in her Division I pursuits.


"Giovana took our program to a new level and we have been grateful for her leadership, passion for the sport, and dedication to our students," Holcomb said. "Coach G cultivated a legacy of winning of which our school and surrounding communities can be proud."


Melo said she carries plenty of memories with her during her two years of playing at WNCC and six years coaching.


"I have a lot of memories here," she said. "It was not easy telling the girls and it won't be easy leaving this place because it has been by home since I came from Brazil and it will always be my home."


Melo said she hopes that the freshman come back because they have the talent to win a national title next year. Plus, she will be there to watch them and recruit.


"I think so because this group has got really close together," she said. "I really hope they decide to stay for one more year and work hard to get to the national tournament.


"I told the girls I want to come back and watch them win a national title next year. I want to come and recruit them. I want them to do well. We worked really hard this spring and they have a big chance to do well."


Melo will be formally introduced on Friday at Cal State-Bakersfield.

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