Beach volleyball is set up for success

Elsa Block

Five years ago, Redwood’s assortment of sports teams grew by adding one noteworthy team — beach volleyball. For several years, many Marin students have played indoor club volleyball outside of school. In recent years, a few of these athletes began playing beach volleyball. Due to California’s warm weather and the potential appeal of playing a sport in a pretty location, beach volleyball has gained more popularity throughout communities within the state. 

The Redwood team was initially a junior varsity team started by coach Chris Glave. Glave was thrilled to finally get a group together, but had concerns regarding the number of players he would have. 

“When we first started, we wanted to have at least 12 players. We were unsure of what kind of abilities we’d have and how much teaching we’d have to do. We contacted many members that played indoor volleyball, and then we formed our first seasons. Soon after, [the sport] gained lots of popularity by word of mouth,” Glave said. 

Finishing the day strong, the beach volleyball team comes together for a team picture (Photo courtesy of the Redwoodbeachvball instagram account)

Many of the players currently on the team have been playing indoor and beach volleyball for many seasons. Junior Katelyn McKnew has been a member of the beach team for several seasons and has loved getting the opportunity to play beach volleyball at Redwood. 

“When playing beach volleyball, you are always in very beautiful places. I love getting to be outdoors often. The people in the beach volleyball community are very laid back, friendly and welcoming. It’s a great place to be,” McKnew said. 

Glave also has taken notice of how special the bond of this team is. Glave loves how close everyone is, and cherishes the positive environment. 

“Everybody just loves being out on the sand. Whenever you talk with anybody who’s played [beach] volleyball, [no matter what level], people always come away with a smile. Being outdoors and a part of the Redwood athletics program creates a great bond and most importantly, [it forms bonds between] those who are freshmen [and] those who are seniors,” Glave said.

Logan Jackson, another junior on the team, has been playing beach volleyball for four years. She shares McKnew’s appreciation for the team and for the sport at large.

 “The environment is so special. You can just tell that [all the players] love the sport, and truly want to be there playing,” Jackson said.

Diving for the ball, Katelyn McKnew makes an epic play (Photo courtesy of Katelyn McKnew)

The sport has also gained popularity as well at other Bay Area high schools. Many local high schools, such as Archie Williams, Tam, Terra Linda and Branson, have beach volleyball teams.

“As a coach, it’s fun to see how much more interest there is now to play. This year, we had around 40 girls come to tryouts. In years past, we never had more than 20. We actually had to make cuts this season, which is sad for me as a coach,” Glave said. 

Due to the desire to play, the team bond is strengthened. The athletes support each other, and are very understanding. There is less of an emphasis on winning, and more of an emphasis on getting to do something enjoyable with a positive team. 

“Everyone is super inclusive. Everyone’s so understanding, there are no mean words exchanged if someone were to make a mistake,” Jackson said. “Everyone is supportive, [which] makes the team so much more special.”