Adding beach volleyball as a sport at Fresno City College was a process five years in the making, according to FCC Head Volleyball Coach Kieran Roblee. With help from FCC President Carole Goldsmith, the fun will begin in Spring 2019.
“A tip of the hat to our former [volleyball] coach Tracy Ainger-Schulte,” said Roblee, “she got the ball rolling.”
Along with the new sport, comes opportunities for student athletes, according to Roblee.
Roblee said a benefit to having a beach volleyball team in the spring is that students who play indoor volleyball in the fall will be able to cross train. Also, the new program possibly opens up athletes more opportunities to play at a four year school.
Other potential options include, “financial aid not only through our indoor program but also through the beach program,” said Roblee, “and then possibly dual sport athletes with that.”
At the moment, only 10 junior colleges in northern California have a beach volleyball program, with most located south, according to Roblee.
“The sport is continuingly growing in the California Community College Athletic Association,” said Roblee.
“And now our athletes are going to be able to compete at a much higher level because we’re training in both seasons,” said Roblee.
Roblee said the difference between indoor and beach volleyball is that six players are active at one time in indoor volleyball, whereas beach volleyball plays seven teams in pairs.
As for finding a permanent location on campus for training and playing — that’s still under review, according to Roblee.
“Right now I like to say we’re just going to be a bunch of travelling vagabonds going where we can,” said Roblee, “we’re probably going to be practicing at a couple sites off campus right now.”
Roblee said those sites include Triumph Volleyball Club which has six beach volleyball courts at its facility in Madera.
“We won’t be hosting a whole lot of home matches because there’s so few teams and usually when you host it’s three teams that play on a date,” said Roblee. “So we won’t host no more than two, maybe three.”
As for funds to maintain the new program, it will come from the FCC athletic department, according to Roblee.
Roblee said indoor volleyball athletes are helping to get beach volleyball started because players are enthusiastic to play in both sports.
Indoor volleyball players like Abbey Briggs, a first year business major, are spreading the word about beach volleyball coming to FCC.
“Well I grew up around beach volleyball, so I’ve loved it ever since I was little,” said Briggs, “and now I’m super excited that City is getting a beach program.”