Beach volleyball becomes official school sport

Team hits sand running


Photo courtesy of Christina Collins

Girls’ volleyball team plays Camarillo in the Adolfo Camarillo High School gym. Currently, the beach volleyball team practices at Bowfield Park, though Bilbruck is working to find new locations for next year.

Beach volleyball, currently one of the fastest-growing sports in the nation, has joined the list of sports offered at Oak Park High School. The program will offer the chance for volleyball players at OPHS to explore opportunities outside of traditional court volleyball.

Since officially being made an OPHS sport in December last year, beach volleyball will be enjoying its first season in the sand during the 2019 spring season.

Beach volleyball is typically played outside on sand courts, with two players per team. Girls’ volleyball head coach Kendall Billbruck has been advocating for beach volleyball to officially become a school sport since 2016, when she began coaching girls’ indoor volleyball at OPHS.

“It was definitely a goal of mine and I wanted it to be accomplished. When I got the call in December, I was ecstatic,” Billbruck wrote to the Talon. “Beach volleyball is the fastest growing sport in the nation right now and there is so much interest in Oak Park that it helped make it become official.”

According to the American Volleyball Coaches Association, beach volleyball made the quickest transition from an emerging sport to a championship sport in NCAA history. Billbruck will also have two assistant coaches for the team. The team is currently practicing at Bowfield Park in Thousand Oaks, though Billbruck is “working on some different things that could change up the location for next year.”

“They will be the first beach team at Oak Park High School ever, and that’s a pretty cool thing to say and be a part of. I want them to have fun not only learning the ins and outs of the game but also enjoying the start of something new,” Billbruck wrote.

Junior Nikki Pavlas has played volleyball since the fifth grade, starting at a parks and recreation program and later moving on to competitive volleyball in the seventh grade. She has played for Point West Volleyball Club and Oaks Volleyball Club, as well as La Reina High School and Oak Park High School.

“I also play beach [volleyball] at Sports Academy outside of school, which is one of the reasons I decided to join the Oak Park team,” Pavlas wrote to the Talon. “I figured I might as well try it out because I really enjoy playing beach [volleyball] and it will improve my skills for next year’s high school season.”

Pavlas explained that she thinks the team’s first season “will just bring together a group of girls bonding over a sport they love.”

“I want to enjoy myself this season [and] have fun with all the other players on my team,” Pavlas wrote. “I just hope to improve my skills for the next upcoming season.”