Lundberg, Molina commit for beach volleyball

Addison Brady

From hardwood floors to sandy courts, senior Elly Lundberg and junior Mari Molina became the first two verbal commits out of Redwood for the fast-growing collegiate sport of beach volleyball.

Lundberg, going into her third season on Redwood varsity volleyball, decided to shift her focus from indoor volleyball to beach midway through her junior year and commit to Arizona State University in July.

Mariana Molina-23

Playing as Lundberg’s partner in many beach tournaments, Molina decided to commit to Stetson University after switching her focus after her sophomore season.

After re-calibrating her skill set, Lundberg spent her free time adjusting to the differences of beach, playing in beach tournaments when she wasn’t playing indoors for Redwood or her Absolute Volleyball club. She played against women who had tremendous beach experience.

“Playing for just one year definitely gave me a disadvantage,” Lundberg said. “I was going up against groups of girls that had been playing together for several years.”

Despite the game of sand volleyball being soft and harder to jump on, sand volleyball requires partners to take on many roles at the same time.

“For my whole life, I played as a middle hitter,” Lundberg said. “With beach, you and your partner have to be a setter, blocker, Libero, and outside hitter simultaneously.”

Molina said that having just one partner requires a different mindset than having five others on the indoor court.

Mariana Molina-4

“If your partners not doing well, you’re not doing well– no matter what,” she said. “Indoors, if one teammate isn’t doing well, there’s five others that can still win the game.”

Arizona State stands in the Pac-12 division, and the coaches have high expectations for Lundberg. Not only is she anticipating to start her freshman year, she must find and develop chemistry with a partner for the season.

As for Molina, she has decided to not play indoor volleyball her senior season, and to dedicate the rest of her time to beach proceeding the upcoming junior season for Redwood varsity.

Molina will spend this next summer in Los Angeles for over three months, and will be playing in beach tournaments and practicing every day in order to fulfill her hopes of becoming one of Stetson University’s best.

“[Lundberg] is going to ASU expecting to be one of their top players, and I want to go into Stetson being one of their top players,” she said. “They expect me to train extremely hard, eat healthy, and take care of my body for the time being.”