The Fullerton College women’s indoor volleyball team enjoyed a successful 2013 season that saw them advance to the second round of the California Community College Athletic Association playoffs. Now, it is time for the sand team, with many of the same players, to try to duplicate their success.
The team finished last season unofficially as the third best team in the state. It is unofficial because sand volleyball is not registered as an official intercollegiate sport as of now.
“It is going to vote in April to make it an official intercollegiate sport,” said head coach Eddie Rapp. “It seems like we have a lot of good momentum heading into it.”
Even though it is not officially a sport, there are plenty of opportunities to compete. There are 28 community colleges teams.
There are four conferences in the south. The Orange Empire Conference has been split into the OEC North and the OEC South. There is also an LA conference and a San Diego conference. Fullerton will be in the OEC North with Golden West, Cypress and Orange Coast.
The Hornets know that they are in a tough conference and that nothing will come easily.
“During the indoor season we all kind of beat each other and were all in the mix in the standings,” Rapp said. “So, I do not really think that there is anybody who is a clear cut favorite.”
Similar to the indoor team in the fall, Rapp is very happy with the depth of his team and knows that there will be people competing for spots all throughout the season.
“We are really about 20 deep,” Rapp said. “Each match consists of five matches between pairs so we have ten who compete each time. Today is the first day that I brought the current rankings of pairs. So, if the girls feel that they are not where they should be then it is up to them to prove that they deserve to be moved up.”
The team is made up of a lot of the same players that helped the Hornets to a strong season on the indoor court, but also has a few girls that have not yet gotten a taste of college volleyball.
One of those girls, Ellen Hansen, had never played sand volleyball at all.
“I feel like we have a pretty strong team,” said Hansen. “We are all coming together and helping each other out a lot. The girls have been a big help in just helping me get used to the rules and the different game of sand as opposed to indoor.”
Even for the girls on the indoor team, sand volleyball is a bit of an adjustment.
“It is a completely different game,” said Alanna Hayhurst. “There is only two people on the court so each person has to cover a lot more ground. You need to make every little movement count.”
The fact that four-year colleges are starting to recognize sand volletball as a sport will definitely help in the April meeting to determine if community colleges will start to do the same. Schools are starting to give out sand volleyball scholarships, and some schools, like USC, are in the middle of constructing million dollar plus venues.
“Sand volleyball presents a big opportunity for us to be able to help get scholarships,” Hayhurst said. “I am still learning the game and I love it. I would like to be able to play both at a university as well.”