The Santa Barbara High School boys beach volleyball team went undefeated in team match play in the opening round of the Interscholastic Beach Volleyball League.
Normally as the season changes from summer to fall, we have grown accustomed to whistles blowing, the flight of yellow flags falling onto a sea of green and the sounds of shoulder pads colliding with one another. These are the comforting sights and sounds that usher in another season of high school football.
This year, however, things are different for a group of dedicated young men and coaches from Santa Barbara High School. For them, the gridiron has been replaced by the sand found at historic East Beach and shoulder pads have been replaced by thundering spikes.
For this band of brothers, they are venturing into the unchartered waters of boys high school beach volleyball. In its inaugural season, boys high school beach volleyball has established a foothold in Southern California through the creation of the Interscholastic Beach Volleyball League, a partnership with USA Volleyball and AAU Sports. Fourteen schools have decided to join the fray, including such volleyball high school powerhouses as Santa Barbara, Mira Costa, Huntington Beach, Redondo Union, San Clemente and Palisades Charter.
So as much as things stay the same, things are changing for those who dare to travel in unchartered sands blazing a path for all who follow.
This past Saturday, coaches Chad Arenson and Morgan Mainz led the Dons to an undefeated opening day of team competition at Will Rogers State Beach. The teams of Tristan Fauntleroy/Quinn Denkensohn, Barron Mainz/Kyle Skinner and Nico Smith/Cord Pereira defeated Palos Verdes and Saddleback Valley Christian, while the teams of Jasper Rhodes/Harrison Schell, Kip Lawrence/JM Cage and Dylan Carmody/Phillip Fauntleroy defeated Saddleback VC and San Clemente.
While most of the matches will take place in Los Angeles, the teams will take part in the Santa Barbara AVP tour stop on Sept. 28 at West Beach before competing in the playoffs on Oct. 5.
— David Smith represents Santa Barbara High School.