Beach volleyball has its season debut

Carl E. Littleberry Jr., Reporter

History was made at Bakersfield College on April 15 as the school hosted its first ever beach volleyball game, when the Renegades played Antelope Valley and Rio Hondo.

Not having sand courts on the BC campus, the games were played at CSUB.

The Renegades began the season losing two of their first three games, all on the road, losing by scores of 5-0 to Ventura and 3-2 to L.A. Pierce on March 18.

After a week long hiatus from play, the team rebounded by beating the same L.A. Pierce team 3-2.

“Early on, our girls were struggling with the transition to the sand courts. We don’t have too many girls experienced with it to begin with so it was challenging,” said first-year head coach Carl Ferreira, who also doubles as the BC women’s volleyball coach.

However, the team found its stride in its home match against Rio Hondo, which posed little to no threat as all five BC doubles teams swept their two-game matches for an overall 5-0 team victory.

BC followed that with a similar drubbing of Rio Hondo, with all four Renegades doubles teams winning. Rio Hondo didn’t have enough members to field five teams.

“Being a two-player game, we focus more on continuity with our players than we would on a regular court,” Ferreira said. “We are just finding the right flow between our players, and our girls will have to learn each others tendencies. In the end, though, I think we have a chance to really go far in some of the later tournaments.”

Though the Renegades swept both matches on the day, the real news however was the history the team made with its first home game.

“It’s huge for us,” said Mckenzie Hernandez, a BC sophomore. “I’m excited. Me and my partner is excited about our chances to go to the state tourney.”

Ari Sikes, who led on the day with 26 total points, plays for the number five team of BC. Sikes said she was happy to just be allowed around the CSUB campus.

“This day was huge for us, but we couldn’t have done any of this without CSUB allowing us to,” said Sikes.

Local fans who made the trip out to CSUB to support BC team in the 88-degree heat were especially happy for the team. Many fans echoed sentiments of relief for the team and know that just adding beach volleyball to the intercollegiate docket is huge.

Bakersfield native Cameron Scarborough, 58, was on hand to watch his niece play for Antelope Valley, and understands the opportunity an added sport can be for the players.

“Initially, it was just regular volleyball, which is great, but it doesn’t really take advantage of the individual as much as sand volleyball. There’s more scholarships and chances for players when you do things like this,” said Scarborough.

“The fans and CSUB really made us feel at home. This really feels like a home court to us, it’s a real advantage in my opinion,” said Kelsey Henderson, a BC player.

Ferreira seemed immersed in the moment but thanked his team members for handling the pressure so well.

“These girls handled today like champs,” he said. “It was never too big for them. They just played how we practiced, and we’ve gotten better each and ever time we step out there. I just want to thank everyone for today. It was huge for all of us.”

BC also played CSUB in an exhibition where BC got swept.

The team will resume play April 22 when it competes in the Western State Conference Individual play-ins.