Beach volleyball plays first game


Gabriella Killett

A beach volleyball athlete sets up to serve the ball during practice on March 10 at Coconut Beach in Kenner, Louisiana. The beach volleyball team played their first game ever last week.

Sebastian Witte, Staff Writer

The inaugural season of beach volleyball kicked off last Friday as the Wolf Pack took on Spring Hill College.
It took about three years of work and proposals to show how the beach volleyball program would work and be beneficial for Loyola’s sports program, head coach Robert Pitre said. Pitre has been a part of the indoor volleyball staff since 2018. Pitre hopes to use this first season to inspire the indoor volleyball players, and start to train differently for this style of play.
“They have been attentive,” he said. “They’re a really good team. They showed that indoor this year with all the accomplishments they had.”
This year’s beach volleyball roster is made up entirely of athletes from the indoor volleyball team, Pitre said. Due to restrictions in time and resources, the beach volleyball program was unable to properly recruit athletes specifically for this sport, he said. Pitre said all indoor volleyball players were required to sign up for beach volleyball.
Indoor volleyball and beach volleyball are very different, according to Pitre. Instead of a team of six there is a team of two putting a lot more pressure on the players who are on the court.
“In beach volleyball you will have to touch the ball every time, whereas indoors you might not touch the ball in a rally,” Pitre said.
Each pair of players is put into duels, in which each duo go up against an opposing pair of players, Pitre said. The duels are won by a best of three.
Beach volleyball being outside means players have to deal with wind, rain, sun, and every type of weather condition that they wouldn’t be dealing with for indoor volleyball, Pitre said.
He said the most challenging part is the sand on the court. Sand is a lot more difficult just to run in when compared to a solid floor, Pitre said. Beach volleyball players must learn to maneuver in the sand while keeping an eye on the ball.
“If you don’t have sandlegs, being used to playing in the sand, then your brain is processing faster than your feet can, which can look silly at times,” Pitre said.
Simon Tyson, business management sophomore, is playing the position of left attacker.
She said that she and many of her teammates experienced some frustration in adapting to the new game.
“I think that all my teammates can agree that fundamentally, we basically had to relearn the game. It’s just it’s basically learning a new sport,” Tyson said.
She said she managed to overcome the hurdles and is stronger for it in the end. She said the team is using this opportunity to improve their in-game skill.
Gracie Bailey, neuroscience junior, plays setter. She sees this upcoming beach volleyball season not as a new sport but as a chance to innovate her training during off-season and to improve her indoor volleyball game.
“This is like our off-season training, so we switched, we used to do training in the off-season and the coaches chose to do beach this year,” Bailey said. “It just better rounds out our athleticism.”
Tyson said she is also seeing positive benefits from this new conditioning.
“I already feel myself just getting stronger already from just practicing the sand,” Tyson said. “Your legs are working twice as hard.”
This week, the Wolf Pack will take on William Carey University at Loyola’s home court, Coconut Beach in Kenner, Louisiana.