Diving into a sandy season

BVH adds beach volleyball to the spring sports season

Isabella Garcia, Sports Editor

On Jan. 24 in the gym, Athletics Director Tyler Arciaga and temporary Attendance Technician, novice girls’ volleyball coach and beach volleyball head coach Mayra Valenzuela explains the mechanics of how the inaugural beach volleyball season will work. Students interested in beach volleyball attend the meeting and sign up to be emailed regarding tryouts. (William Maywood)

Bonita Vista High (BVH) welcomes a new addition to the 2022-23 spring sports season. The opportunity to have a girls beach volleyball team at BVH arises, and tryouts are just around the corner.

“The idea to have a beach volleyball team came up at a Metro Managers meeting which has all of the ASB assistants, principals and athletic directors from the Metro Conference along with the District Coordinator of Athletics,” Athletics Director Tyler Arciaga said. 

When the ability to play beach volleyball was mentioned to Arciaga he thought the sport would peak some interest within the BVH community. So, Arciaga then began the process of communicating with beach volleyball Metro Conference California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Liaison Valerie Ruiz to work through the logistics of the season. 

“With the rich tradition of volleyball that we have here on campus it would be great to continue [volleyball] in the spring and give women another opportunity to continue playing,” Arciaga said. “What’s nice about it is that they can still play their club indoor season, where most sports you can’t, but because they consider them different sports, it [is] allowed.”

Next for Arciaga was to find a coach. Arciaga asked temporary Attendance Technician and novice girls’ volleyball coach Mayra Valenzuela to be the girls’ beach volleyball head coach. She already has prior experience with the foundation of beach volleyball as she coaches volleyball.  

“Coach Tyler came up to me and asked if I would be interested in doing beach volleyball. I thought it was super cool because the first thing I thought of was the [scene in the] movie Top Gun and thought that’d be so cool to coach beach volleyball,” Valenzuela said. “I already know the concept of the sport, just instead of having [6] players on the court you only have two.”

Now that Valenzuela is on board, the next step was announcing the new sport on social media and around school to bring in interest. Arciaga and Valenzuela decided to hold a meeting on Jan. 24 to promote the new beach volleyball team through a signup sheet with more information for those interested in trying out. Beach volleyball is similar to indoor but differs in some areas: it’s two on two for indoor volleyball, the court’s smaller, and the ball is lighter with a few other additional rules. In general it is a seamless transition due to the minimal changes. 

“It’s going to be a learning process for all of us. Imagine having [five] other players helping you out and supporting. You’re covering a bigger amount of space with just two on the court. So we’re all going to learn that little by little,” Valenzuela said. 

There will definitely be learning involved for both Valenzuela and the players. Most of the girls planning to try out for the new team already have experience with volleyball. Some already know the rules of beach volleyball from previous experiences like playing for a club or playing when going to the beach.

“I have a lot of friends that play beach volleyball. I already kind of knew about the rules, it’s definitely different. I think that with practice it’ll get easier,” girls’ varsity volleyball opposite hitter and senior Abby Topete said.

Topete and her teammates that plan on trying out will get to experience playing volleyball in a different environment due to the different rules and adjustments that come with beach volleyball. This new team also helps more student-athletes who want to play volleyball but were cut during the fall season.

“It’s a great opportunity for girls to get involved and play sports. What’s good about [beach volleyball] is it’s competitive and it’s CIF, but it’s a lower key in the sense where there’s no referees,” Arciaga said. “You’re calling the ins and outs. It’s going to be a different atmosphere for the student-athletes to participate in as opposed to the indoor season where there’s three officials.”

The season seems to be promising as more people are continuing to sign up. Some of the girls from the varsity volleyball team plan to try out for beach volleyball which provides another opportunity for them to continue playing volleyball.  

“What’s nice [is] a lot of our varsity girls from volleyball have signed up. We’ve won CIF two times in a row for regular volleyball. So just imagine those varsity players coming into beach volleyball, knowing the concept of the game already and strategizing to be a two on two. I think it’ll be a fun experience for them and for me too,” Valenzuela said.

Not only does Valenzuela anticipate the girls’ varsity volleyball players doing well in beach, but  Topete as well. Topete is ready to start playing and creating new bonds with new teammates through beach volleyball.

“This [new sport] is really good for Bonita because people already know us from winning CIFs. It’d be really cool to have new girls come try out and play beach,” Topete said. “I’m super excited to meet new people and try out this new opportunity because I’ve never played beach [volleyball].”

The start of the girls’ beach volleyball season is up and coming. Arciaga, Valenzuela and Topete highly recommend anyone interested to try out even if they’ve never played because cuts aren’t anticipated to happen as it stands. 

“The first day of tryouts will be held on campus. The students will meet outside the weight room at 4 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 13. Their first beach day will be on Tuesday at the Olympic training center or Imperial Beach,” Arciaga said.

While Arciaga is still in the process of finalizing details, he has been in communication with Ruiz so that the girls’ beach volleyball team will be able to hold games and practices at the off-campus facilities provided for them. The team will also have the opportunity to practice on the BVH campus. 

“All uniforms and balls are being provided along with a pop-up practice court and sand practice facility twice a week. The pop-up practice court can be set up anywhere,” Arciaga said. 

These resources provided for the team at BVH will help them in the future when they’re unable to practice at the beach and Olympic Training Center. Like Valenzuela, the future girls’ beach volleyball team will be looking forward to the possibility of holding practices and games at new facilities. 

“I’m really excited. I love seeing how even in the sport itself, it looks [like] so much fun playing at the beach knowing that we’re doing it during the springtime where it’s not too hot,” Valenzuela said. “Maybe the girls will take what they learn and use it during the summertime when they’re with their friends [and] teach each other [so] the following season we’ll have a larger amount of girls signing up because it is a fun sport. We live in San Diego so who doesn’t like the beach?”