Cal Lutheran Beach Volleyball Club looks to become an official sport


Photo by Kastenny Flores - Reporter

The Kingsmen volleyball team at Cal Lutheran started as a club before becoming an official sport, and Head Women’s Volleyball Coach Kellee Roesel hopes to do the same with the beach volleyball club.

Kastenny Flores, Reporter

The Beach Volleyball Club at California Lutheran University features not only a competitive aspect but also the fun, entertaining component of the sport. 

“The Beach Volleyball Club here is similar to other sports clubs, like rugby, hockey and the Dance Team. We are still a competitive club, competing with community colleges because of how small it is,” Ali Gregory, vice president of the Beach Volleyball Club, said.

The club has been slowly growing since spring 2022 and Tess Holbert, club president, said that the goal of the club is to become an official sport. Holbert said that Head Women’s Volleyball Coach Kellee Roesel always wanted to have a beach volleyball club on campus. 

“When I came to Cal Lutheran, I had certain goals. One of the big ones was to give kids more opportunities to play this sport. Although I started a men’s team seven years ago, the way that helped start the NCAA men’s team was to have a club team,” Roesel said.

The process has not been straightforward, as Roesel said that finding enough individuals to commit to creating a well-rounded team has been the biggest obstacle. 

“It’s one of the biggest growing sports in the nation. It’s in every high school, every junior college, and it’s starting to blow up,” Roesel said.

Beach volleyball is a relatively new sport that debuted in the Olympic Games of 1992.

Roesel, Holbert and Gregory said beach volleyball is much more complex than traditional volleyball. However, Holbert and Gregory said they enjoy it more due to the outdoor component. 

“Beach volleyball, even though it looks the same to people who aren’t in the know, it’s two different sports,” Roesel said. “You’re playing on the beach with only two players in the sand, which makes it challenging. So, really, only the most well-rounded players will play beach. Not as many girls on my team are interested or could play it.”

Roesel said that at Cal Lutheran, the interest in this sport has increased through the years and many club members are a part of the men’s and women’s volleyball teams.

“Some people come and go, but I would say we have about 15 from the girls’ volleyball team. The boys’ volleyball team will always go to the events I host, so there are probably 10 on their side. So we probably have like 20 or so kids that will actually come out,” Holbert said. 

Holbert said the club has played various teams in the last few years and hopes to continue this pattern in the future.

“Last year, we only got one match in. We played a community college and another team that was visiting as well,” Holbert said. “The rain has been throwing us for a loop, and we have a lot of injuries on our team. A lot of the girls who play on the beach team also play indoor. So we only got to play SBCC [Santa Barbara Community College] and Mesa, which is a team from Arizona.”

Holbert said this group does not hold weekly events or a set schedule; however, they have grass tournaments where all members of the Cal Lutheran community are welcome to join. 

“I’ve hosted grass volleyball tournaments and beach volleyball tournaments to keep people engaged with the club until it can be an official sport,” Holbert said. “We’ve played a few teams so far, and, by next year, I’m hoping to have a full schedule and girls who are fully committed to playing. Finding players is hard, but we’ve made much progress from where we started.”

Gregory said the club is co-ed, and no prior experience is necessary. She said that just an interest in playing volleyball outdoors is needed. 

“A lot more students are comfortable playing grass because it’s easier than beach volleyball. We’ve had a lot of people who don’t play volleyball come out and do it because it’s a lot of fun and less formal,” Holbert said. 

Gregory said the club has been running for a few years but officially returned solidly in the last two years. However, Gregory also said that currently, with the rain, the club has not been able to host as many games as they wish. 

“We don’t have an exact date, but we are trying to get a grass tournament going sometime in April after spring break. As an end-of-the-year type of event for our club to just get out there again in hopes that people see and join in the fall,” Gregory said.