A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA

SACMedia

A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA

SACMedia

A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA

SACMedia

Mt. SAC beach volleyball baptizes new stadium victoriously

New digs, same mentality
Sophomores Capri Salmon (22, left) passing to teammate Elizabeth “Liz” Ortiz (21, right) to set herself up for a kill out of serve receive against the Riverside Tigers.

On Friday, Jan. 26, the new beach volleyball courts were unveiled as the Mt. SAC beach volleyball team embarked on their 2024 season.

Mt. SAC’s beach volleyball team served up some home cooking for the dozens of fans and staff in attendance to unveil the newly built beach courts located south of Temple Ave. off Mt. SAC Way.

 

New beach volleyball courts located south of the soccer fields. (Adam Young)

 

The new facility holds six regulation-sized courts, a multimedia LED scoreboard big enough to show all six scores in real-time, broadcasting capabilities, multiple shaded areas on the grass area for spectators to enjoy the game and a dedicated champions court used only for the winning pairs to compete on.

 

The team waiting for the formalities to finish so that they can officially start their 2024 season with a bang. (Robbie Doctor)

 

Prior to the National Anthem playing, Dean and Director of Mt. SAC Athletics Joe Jennum spoke on what the new stadium means to the school and the program. “This new facility will continue to strengthen our extremely successful beach volleyball program and our athletics department by offering a space for our women’s team that is in line with our other recent and competitive high-level courts, fields and pool,” Jennum said.

Jennum also commended newly appointed Head Coach Samantha Neely for the initiative, dedication and vision for overseeing the dream facility.

What started out as a napkin dream and conversation came to fruition by Neely, the current indoor volleyball head coach. Neely ecstatically reflected on the new state-of-the-art facility Mt. SAC has received.

“We feel so blessed to have this new beach volleyball stadium on campus to train and compete in,” Neely said. “It is everything we could have hoped for and more! We are very grateful that Mt. SAC is so supportive of this growing women’s intercollegiate sport and has dedicated its efforts to providing a facility that gives female athletes within our program and in the local community the opportunity to play in a state-of-the-art facility.”

According to Jennum, the new facility is so unique and top-notch that Stanford University architects and volleyball coaches envy and praise the beach facility Mt. SAC calls home.

 

Athletes get excited to have new equipment and gear but especially for a new stadium to play in.  (Robbie Doctor)

 

First up – the Riverside Tigers.

Because all five pairs for both schools would be playing simultaneously, the players would be self-reffing their matches. Officially claiming “The Beach” as our home court, the 2’s Pair of sophomores Elizabeth “Liz” Ortiz (21) and Capri Salmon (22) won both the first set and match to start the SAC season off on the right foot.

As two of the more seasoned and experienced players on the team, Neely will look to the pair to lead the team through exemplary play and instill the championship mindset for the women’s beach volleyball program to make another deep playoff run.

Mt. SAC would sweep the Riverside Tigers, 5-0.

 

Freshman Naara Ortega (12) making a diving save to keep the rally alive for her teammate Andrea Brewer (4, not pictured). (Robbie Doctor)

 

Next up – the Mt. San Jacinto Eagles.

The Eagles proved to be tougher opponents than the Tigers, gentlemen’s sweeping the Tigers, 4-1.

Mt. SAC would prevail in a nailbiter, outlasting the gritty Eagles 3-2. Although not a conference rival, Mt. San Jacinto has been a tough outing for SAC and will have a chance to sweep them in out-of-league play on Feb. 23.

 

Freshmen Andrea Brewer (4, right) with the kill attempt off a bump set from Naara Ortega (12, left). (Robbie Doctor)

 

After the matches, Neely praised the team for grinding it out, protecting the home field and having fun while doing so.

“It was fun to see the team out there competing on Friday and to have our Mt. SAC fans enjoy the space as much as we do,” she said. “Winning the first two matches of the season was a great way to kick things off in the new facility. Most of our roster are indoor players that are fairly new to the sport of beach volleyball, so it was fun to see them out there competing and pulling off wins in pressure situations.”

Although the team is off to a hot start, there is much work ahead for the team. “We have a lot to improve upon, but Friday’s performance showed that we have a solid foundation to build off of,” Neely said. “We are excited to compete again next Friday.”

Mt. SAC will host the Orange Coast Pirates and the Hope International Royals on Friday, Feb. 2 with the first match beginning at 10 a.m.

 

 

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Robbie Doctor, Managing Editor
Robbie Doctor is the Managing Editor.

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