Beach Volleyball Spikes Its Way Into Benjamin Athletics

Junior+Riley+MacDermott+serves+up+a+ball+during+a+home+match.+The+Miller%0AVolleyball+Courts+are+brand+new+this+year+and+are+home+to+the+School%E2%80%99s+debut+beach+volleyball+team.

Tvisha Goel

Junior Riley MacDermott serves up a ball during a home match. The Miller Volleyball Courts are brand new this year and are home to the School’s debut beach volleyball team.

Charlie Spungin, Copy Editor

The newest addition to Benjamin’s athletic program, beach volleyball, has kicked off its inaugural season. It began with a 5-0 sweep against North Broward Prep, and because of this excellent start to the program’s history, the team has high aspirations as the season continues.

According to Assistant Athletic Director Coach Alex Clarke, the reason that Benjamin brought beach volleyball to the school is because the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) recognized beach volleyball as a sport this past year. Prior to this, local schools played beach volleyball as a club sport, not as a recognized one. The Athletic Department, made up of Athletic Director Mr. Ryan Smith and Assistant Athletic Director Mr. Dave Bailey, had long discussed bringing beach volleyball to Benjamin.

“We, in this Athletic Department, had always talked about if [beach volleyball] becomes an FHSAA sport, we will add it here at Benjamin, so as soon as the FHSAA made that decision, we were able to move forward with our plans,” Coach Clarke explained.

With it being the School’s first year in the sport, there’s an element of uncertainty for the team. The competition level is unknown, and the schedule was merely made based on availability, per Coach Clarke.

Senior Addie Bounds will be attending California Polytechnic State University this fall for beach volleyball, so she has quickly embraced a leadership role for the rather youthful team.

“As the only senior and one of only three full-time beach players on the team, it has taken patience and concise communication to help everyone lock-in. Even though our team is pretty young this year, the girls all seem very excited to learn and compete,” Bounds said.

Despite the team’s youth, Bounds sees potential in the group and thinks
that if the team continues to work hard, they “could be very successful”. The future collegiate athlete does have high aspirations for the season with the young players’ development, hoping to win states.

In the fall, Bounds played on the volleyball team, coached by Coach Clarke. While not the coach of the beach volleyball team, Coach Clarke still had high praise for Bounds for stepping up on the sand, crediting her for helping quickly establish a positive culture for the program. Head Coach Kent Culp was unavailable for a response.

The current roster feels like they can build something special for the beach volleyball program this year, which will set up an incredible future. Starting on day one, all the team had their eyes set on was building a positive atmosphere and to win.

“One of the coolest things about being a part of the inaugural team is getting a say in the legacy that we build,” Bounds said. “On the first day of practice, we all talked about what type of environment we wanted to build this year. I’m hoping Bucs beach volleyball will be known for being good humans and hard workers.”