The Cal State Bakersfield volleyball squad was named the recipient of the 2018-19 WAC Sportsmanship Award on Friday in Denver for the team’s act of generosity at the 2018 WAC Volleyball Tournament in Bakersfield, California.

While at the Conference Tournament in California, the UTRGV volleyball team’s bus was vandalized, broken into and several items including necessary equipment.

“We went to grab some breakfast and were at the restaurant,” UTRGV coach Todd Lowery said. “We finished eating and came out and quickly noticed that a couple of the side windows were broken out in one of the vehicles and realized that they had stolen a bunch of the girls’ backpacks. We were scheduled to go and practice, so we decided to cancel practice and then in that process, the girls told us they had their shoes, knee pads, all that stuff in their backpacks since we were headed to practice.”

CSU Bakersfield stepped in quickly after learning of the incident and willingly lent shoes and knee pads to the Vaqueros so that they could compete properly. The Roadrunners were able to get the much-needed equipment to UTRGV within hours of the theft, even though they still had another match to play later that day.

“I felt terrible for them,” CSU Bakersfield Director of Volleyball Giovana Melo said. “I put myself in their situation and I just wanted to do what I could to help. I had no other thought process other than let’s go get what we can from what we have. Let’s see what the girls have available and what we have in our equipment room to be able to help them as much as we can.”

“It’s a great feeling and I think that’s what’s great about our conference,” Lowery said. “Especially right now, we just have a great group of coaches in our conference on the volleyball side and we’re all pretty close. I think it was never questioned do we help them or not help them, it was just, ‘Yeah, this is what we do.’ I think the girls really felt that they were appreciated. Big thanks to Bakersfield.”