Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Marisa Guisti: A game-changer for SEMO Volleyball

Friday, September 15, 2023
SEMO senior middle blocker Marisa Guisti goes up to make a play at the net in a SEMO volleyball practice.
Photo by Maddox Murphy

The Southeast Missouri State University volleyball team is abuzz with excitement as Marisa Guisti, a graduate student middle hitter, embarks on a new chapter in her collegiate career.

The transfer from Butler University is already making a significant impact on SEMO's volleyball program.

Currently, she leads the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) in hitting percentage (0.404) and she’s in the top ten for kills per set (2.88).

“To have both of those categories in the conference is huge, usually you’re kind of one or the other,” head coach Julie Yankus said, “I think if she can continue to hit as efficiently as she is, I think she could be the best middle hitter in the conference.”

However, Marisa’s journey through the world of competitive volleyball began years ago during her first year of high school.

She swiftly rose through the ranks playing varsity all four years before joining a club team, where she honed her skills for three years.

She then embarked on her collegiate career at LaSalle University in Philadelphia, although her initial enthusiasm was dampened as LaSalle discontinued its volleyball program after her freshman year.

This setback propelled Guisti into the transfer portal, eventually landing her at Butler University, where she achieved remarkable success, including triumphs over nationally-ranked opponents and leading the conference in blocks her senior year.

SEMO had actually recruited Guisti before she chose Butler, but at the time did not have the exact major she wanted and it wasn’t the perfect fit.

Marisa's eventual arrival at SEMO comes with high expectations and a genuine commitment to the team's success.

"First, her playing in the Big East (Conference), at such a high level, was definitely something intriguing to us,” Coach Yankus said. “She’s been challenged by playing top teams in the country like Creighton and Marquette repeatedly, so that raised her volleyball IQ and her aggressiveness, you know, she’s not going to shy away from seeing a big 6’3” middle blocker on the other side of the net.”

As a graduate transfer, she brings a unique blend of skills and leadership to the squad. When asked about her personal goals for the season, Guisti said, "A big team goal is obviously to get a ring this year, so we want to go for that OVC championship and really be competitive this year in the conference. There's a lot of good teams, so it's going to be tough."

Coach Yankus expressed her excitement about having Marisa on the team and described her transition as “seamless,” as she just fit right in.

Guisti’s smooth integration into the team dynamic has been a testament to her adaptability and positive energy.

“It’s equally important to go to a school where you want to be there as much as they want you to be there, and I think I really found that here,” Guisti said.

Her teammates have welcomed her with open arms, appreciating her fun-loving nature and her commitment to the game.

Tara Beilsmith, a grad student and the Redhawks libero, shared her thoughts on Marisa's addition.

"She demands from her teammates, and she’s not shy about doing it either, which is really nice, especially being new,” Beilsmith said. “She earned her role for sure. She balls out every single day in practice and doesn’t take a single rep for granted.”

As the season unfolds, SEMO's volleyball team has set ambitious goals. They aim to secure another Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) championship and to continue their tradition of excellence.

Marisa's skill on the court, coupled with her vibrant personality, are expected to play a pivotal role in achieving these objectives.

Marisa's journey from Butler University to SEMO is a story of resilience, determination, and a love for the game.