Beach volleyball spikes interest

As of this school year, several of the Conejo Valley Unified School District’s volleyball coaches came together and created a beach volleyball team for boys in the hopes that, similar to girls, it will eventually become a CIF sport. The Newbury Park High School’s beach volleyball team is divided between the JV team and Varsity. Both teams are coached by the same two men: Jorge Ostrovsky as the head coach, and AJ MacArthur as the assistant coach.

Ostrovsky has been coaching volleyball for 19 years; every one of his years have been at Newbury Park. “A lot of the boys, three years ago, asked me about possibly starting a club team for the high school. And I said, ‘Yeah I’ll look into it,’ and here we are now three years later,” Ostrovsky said.

He sees the team as a great experience for the players, and strongly believes that the team will be successful. All of the players on the team have played indoor, but he thinks that, whether they have or have not played on the beach, that it is a great opportunity for them to confidently and comfortably be able to play any and all positions.

Connor Thorup, junior, is one of the players on the JV team. This will be his third year playing volleyball, having started off as a freshman. Thorup prefers beach volleyball over indoor because of the area, time, and space he gets to cover during a single game.

When asked what he is most excited about, he hesitated, believing that there is too much to look forward to. “Improving is always good… and getting to spend more time with [the players] just makes you a better player,” Thorup said, deciding that the team’s company was what he was most looking forward to this season.

Another member of the JV team, Leonard Zhu, freshman, has been playing volleyball for three years, like Thorup. Though Zhu prefers indoor volleyball over outdoor, he still “[looks forward to having] a good season and winning lots of tournaments. And also, just building good friendships within the players,” Zhu said.

Varsity seniors Tyler Maki and Jake Cecena, were both on the varsity team last year, and the two of them have watched, seen, and improved themselves throughout their time on the team.. “[Improvement-wise, there is] just a lot better dynamic between the players. In beach, it’s a lot different because you need to be able to read your partner and know where they’re going to be… in order to play effectively,” Maki said. They both believe that everyone is putting so much work into the team and that they are ultimately just looking forward to “hanging out with the guys.”

“I like the fact that, not only do these guys play good volleyball, but they are also really good people… I would consider them to be, at least from my experiences… excellent students; they treat each other real well, and they represent, not only me, but the community; but more importantly, they represent themselves really well with everybody else. So I think that’s really important,” Ostrovsky said.

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