CVC wraps up first year of beach volleyball

(Kason Clark)

Cavaliers lose 2-1 to Santa Ynez in the first round of the Central Section Beach Volleyball Championships; Central Valley Christian beach volleyball finishes its inaugural season with an 8-5 record

VISALIA – With beach volleyball slowly growing in the Central Valley, local schools are looking to get in on the action. Central Valley Christian is one of those schools as it introduced the beach volleyball program this spring and just competed in its first playoff match at home this past Tuesday night.

The No. 6 seed Cavaliers played a competitive match against No. 11 seed Santa Ynez on April 30. But the Cavaliers could not close it out as their inaugural season came to an end with a 2-1 loss to the Pirates. While it was a disappointing finish to the year, CVC head coach Tyler Ortman believes the Cavaliers had a strong first season in beach volleyball.

“It was a wonderful season. The girls are great and we have a lot to learn and move forward to,” Ortman said. “For a first year program that is new to beach and has a new culture, new dynamics and a new atmosphere, I think the girls exceeded expectations and have huge growth potential for the future.”

CVC beach volleyball finished its first season with an overall record of 8-5 and finished in a three-way tie with Exeter and Immanuel for first in the Tri County League. Against Santa Ynez, the Cavaliers faced their first competition from the coast this season, so Ortman believes this playoff match will serve as some good experience for his program.

“It was exciting to be able to showcase our skills and what we worked on this whole season, but also be able to showcase it specifically against the coastal region which we hadn’t seen yet,” Ortman said. “It was exciting as a program and it was really exciting too as a region.”

In their loss to the Pirates, the Cavaliers competed until the very end. On the first court, the CVC duo of Sophia Fields and Ally Lane won 2-0 against their competition. They won both their sets by scores of 21-14, giving CVC a 1-0 lead to start the match.

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Central Valley Christian’s Ally Lane digs the ball in a home playoff match against Santa Ynez. (Kason Clark)

But on court two, the CVC team consisting of Lola Highstreet and Emma Mihalcin suffered a 2-0 loss to Santa Ynez. The Cavalier duo dropped their first set, 21-18, and then lost in the second set, 21-16, to end their clash and tie the overall match 1-1.

With the first two courts split, the match came down to court three where CVC’s Kate Verhoeven and Emerson Kroeze battled Santa Ynez. The Pirates got the better of them in the first set with a 21-15 victory, but Verhoeven and Kroeze responded with a 21-19 decision in the second set to force a third set that would determine the entire match.

In the final set, the Cavaliers and Pirates battled back and forth to a 12-12 draw. But the Pirates ended the game with three straight points to win, 15-12, to defeat Verhoeven and Kroeze and win the match. While he commends his team for playing hard to the end, Ortman believes the smallest mistakes allowed the Pirates to pull out the win.

“It just came down to errors,” Ortman said. “When it comes down to tight matches, it’s the ones who are the most consistent. I think they were more consistent than we were in their game play and that’s why we lost.”

Several other local schools competed in the Central Section Playoffs this past Tuesday, but also saw their seasons come to an end. At home, No. 8 seed Immanuel suffered a 2-1 loss to No. 9 seed Paso Robles. On the road, No. 10 seed Exeter saw its season end with a 2-1 loss to No. 7 seed Yosemite. 

While these teams and CVC ended their seasons with tough losses, Ortman looks forward to the future of his program. Most of his players will return for next season, so Ortman expects the Cavaliers to improve as a program and continue helping beach volleyball grow in the Central Valley.

“I’m just really excited to have these girls. We only have two girls graduating so the program is going to stay pretty connected,” Ortman said. “I think just having the returning group come back and be able to pick up where we left off is hopefully going to help us start the season stronger than where we started this year.”

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