On a windy and overcast day with approximately three dozen fans in attendance, (that number will grow to 300 in the future as more and more people claim to have attended the game) Charlotte took to the sand on a court at Florida Southwestern State College. Nestled in between a brick building and a fenced in area of school power equipment, the players struggled with the wind as they set up a tent and unraveled the cordage used to outline the court.
Charlotte freshmen Kayla Vasquez and Lilly Shaw probably never realized that they were the first players in the history of Charlotte beach volleyball to win a match. A half an hour later, Shelby Beisner and Eva Le continued to be undefeated in their career as teammates in beach volleyball as Charlotte lost to Bishop Verot 3-2.
The loss to the highly regarded Vikings was the first loss in the history of Charlotte beach volleyball. There will be plenty more “firsts” in the upcoming season for Charlotte. Before a parade is organized for these girls I must inform you that the reason for all of the “firsts”, is that game was the first game ever for a Charlotte beach volleyball team.
The “5” team of Vasquez and Shaw along with the “1” team of Le and Beisner both won their matches 21-16. In beach ball, the games end at 21 points rather than the customary 25. They play a best 2 out of 3 series but cut the games to just one win as the Vikings arrived late for the match. The teams rotate on the court during the game and only the players, not the coaches, can call timeout.
Head coach Alyssa Collier is a former Tarpon volleyball star who was a setter all four years in high school. She was on the All Area team for four years and was the Charlotte Sun player of the year as a senior. She is also an assistant varsity coach with the school team.
Collier said, “I’ve been getting a few calls from some other schools about playing so we will probably have a lot more games this season. We have a tournament coming up in April with the regionals in mid-April.”
“The girls are young and they haven’t played beach before so this is a learning process. I see a lot of really good things that will help with their indoor game. With just two people on a team, this is a much more mental game and you need a lot of communication This is a good chance to get these girls scholarships because the sport is gaining popularity at colleges,” said Collier.
The next home game is March 25 also against Bishop Verot. They will play against cross town rival Port Charlotte on April 10 just three days before their tournament at Indian Rocks.