Get ready for the newest MIL sport: Beach volleyball

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Amy Ozee

Beach volleyball debuts this year as a Maui Interscholastic League sport. Senior Amy Ozee, who is featured in this photo, stated, “[Beach volleyball’s] completely different from what is expected. It has the excitement that indoor volleyball has, but it’s in a great area.”

Anabela Cagen, Staff Writer

Get excited volleyball fans because beach volleyball is now officially a Maui Interscholastic League (MIL) sport. Although beach volleyball is prevalent on Maui at Kanaha Beach Park and several Kihei and Kaanapali beaches, it has not been a MIL sport until this season.

If you are unfamiliar with the sport, beach volleyball is similar to indoor volleyball, but there is a twist. Instead of having six players on either side of the court, there are only two players per side with sand as the ground instead of a wooden floor. Because of this difference between the two sports, Seabury Hall senior Emma Pilotin stated, “I like that there are less people on the court because there are more opportunities to touch the ball. I really like that, being a short person, I can play with tall people and that height doesn’t matter, mostly skill.”

Seabury Hall beach volleyball coach and Seabury Hall alumnus (Class of 2010) Josh Kulhavy-Sutherland has lots of beach volleyball experience because he played professionally in California for two seasons. Kulhavy-Sutherland is different than most coaches because according to Seabury Hall sophomore Kiana Hyman, “Josh is a really good coach. He likes to play with us instead of just standing on the side and coaching, so it makes us all better players.”

Kulhavy-Sutherland emphasized the similarity of beach volleyball to other team sports: “Like any other team sport, it teaches you hard work, discipline, how to work with other people, and how to deal with adversity.”

Team sports like volleyball also allow individuals to meet new people and make new friendships. Not only will prospective players meet new friends, but Hyman expresses that her teammates are inspiring: “My teammates inspire me by pushing me and I like to watch them and just try to mimic what they do and be like them.”

Because this is the first MIL season for beach volleyball, the players and coach feel that it is important to work hard, set a precedent for future seasons, make the sport attractive, and get as many people out as possible. Seabury Hall senior Amy Ozee hopes to accomplish all of these goals this year: “My goal, as one of the people who is trying to get it started, is get as many people out as possible because it’s a pretty small sport. I only know a few people who actually do it if it wasn’t for the MIL, so I want to get as many people out as I can, encourage them, and have fun with it.”

Kulhavy-Sutherland believes that participation will be his main goal this year: “As the head coach, I’d really like to get people out playing beach volleyball for Seabury. I’m not too worried about finishes, but participation. So, participation is my number one goal.”

Ozee plans for her beach volleyball career to continue after high school. “I plan to compete at UH for college and continue to try to go pro afterwards and just keep playing til I can’t walk,” she said.

Because beach volleyball is new to the MIL, there is no need to be nervous according to Kulhavy-Sutherland. “Oh, well, the hardest part is showing up, so show up. Once you’re out there it’s going to be great and you’re going to really enjoy it,” he expressed.

If you actually show up, but you are not confident in your volleyball skills, Hyman stated, “Everyone is bad when they first start playing beach volleyball, and it’s kind of funny, but it’s ok. Just have fun because it’s a new sport.”

If you want to go to the beach on a Saturday morning, you should stop by Kanaha Beach Park and check out some of the intense beach volleyball matches and according to Ozee, “[Beach volleyball’s] completely different from what is expected. It has the excitement that indoor volleyball has, but it’s in a great area.”

If you want to be a part of Seabury Hall’s beach volleyball team, make sure to go to the Haleakala Beach Courts on Tuesday, Nov. 10 at 3:45 PM. Practices will be every Tuesday and Friday from 3:45 PM to 5:00 PM. For those who are not interested in participating in beach volleyball this year, you should still go check out some of the matches at Haleakala because it is an exciting sport that is under the sun and in the sand.