Scottdale Prep Prepares for Fifth Season of Beach Volleyball
October 31, 2017 by Katie Thomas, Arizona State University
The Scottsdale Preparatory Academy Spartans are ready to feel the sand between their toes again as they prepare for the upcoming fifth season of beach volleyball.
Arizona was the first state to introduce beach volleyball as a high school sport in 2012, and Scottsdale Prep was one of the first high schools to compete.
“Scottsdale Prep has competed on a high level since the very beginning,” coach Kyle Boron said.
In 2011, the AIA voted unanimously on making beach volleyball a two-year pilot program after it was proposed to the board by the Arizona Region of USA Volleyball. The two-year pilot would allow time for planning things like facilities, budgets and more.
After the two years were up, beach volleyball became an official AIA high school sport as voted on by the Executive Board.
Scottsdale Prep has been participating since the pilot program began in 2012 when only five teams competed. This also included Westwind, Fountain Hills, Valley Vista and Xavier Prep.
With no prior experience, the Spartans won their first-ever beach volleyball match, sweeping Westwind 5-0 at Victory Lanes Sports Park in Glendale, Arizona.
“The sport was very popular right off the bat,” Troy Head said, assistant athletic director at Scottsdale Prep when the sport was introduced. “We received good participation and the girls were competitive.”
The Spartans have been successful since then as well.
“We have made the playoffs every year, been the only team to beat Xavier Prep, and won the state championship in 2016,” Boron said.
Scottsdale Prep won the Division II State Championship, defeating Chandler Prep 3-2.
The dominant Xavier Prep program is a six-time champion in Division I.
The program is also helping Arizona high schools meet Title IX requirements by giving female athletes more opportunity to compete in sports. And more opportunity for volleyball players to have a ball in hand.
Boron said he believes about 90% of the girls who play beach also play indoor. But the two sports are very different.
There are 12 girls to a team, five two-girl duos and a couple of substitutes. The sand is 12-18 inches deep and the court is Olympic standard size.
“Indoor is faster paced and more specialized,” Boron said. “In sand, it’s more methodical, slow and you have to be more well-rounded to compete. Physically you must be able to do everything - pass, set and hit or the other team will find your weakness. It also can be more demanding from the sand or other weather conditions.”
With the indoor season coming to a close, beach volleyball is next up for those student-athletes who don’t participate in the very popular club volleyball season.
The Spartans might be tested this 2018 season.
“This year might be a down year compared to years due to the team being much younger than teams in the past, but we always compete on a high level,” Boron said.