Salpointe Beach Volleyball goes undefeated in regular season to claim top spot in playoffs

Queen Creek — As Salpointe Catholic’s Beach Volleyball team embarked on the final road trip of the regular season Wednesday afternoon, Head Coach Heather Moore-Martin’s message to the team was simple; Take advantage of the opportunity. 

Unlike most other teams across the state, the Lancers were closing out the regular season at the same venue set to host the Semifinal and Championship rounds for both teams and pairs. 

“It’s just such a great opportunity to get here,” Moore-Martin said. “This is where the State Playoffs are, and the sand is so great. We have an opportunity to really move around and put our body down and get used to the sand like this, because we don’t have sand like this, so it’s really nice to come to a facility you can actually play beach volleyball at.”

Anyone who’s ever played beach volleyball will tell you not all courts are created equal. Conditions such as the type of sand and the depth of the court can vary depending on each location, and each factors into how athletes are able to maneuver and play.

While Moore-Martin wanted her players to get used to the sand and be aggressive with their play, she also wanted them to remain locked-in mentally and treat this game like it was already the postseason. Sitting at a perfect 13-0, a win would not only cap off an undefeated regular season, but also lock them into the top seed for the Division II playoffs. 

It was a bit chilly with the wind in the air, but it wasn’t enough to put out the flame lit underneath the red-hot Lancers. Taking home an easy 5-0 victory, the Lancers were able to dominate their way to the end of the regular season with strategic offense and strong defense. Their defense was so strong, in fact, the highest number of points given up by any pair on the night was 12. 

As an added bonus, it also gave the Lancers a chance to play on the sand they’ll be using for the State Championships, giving them more time to adjust. 

While the Lancers know the playoffs will not be an easy road, they’re battle-tested and ready for what’s to come. In the regular season, Salpointe had only seven pairs come out on the losing side of a match-up, and all taking place at the start of the season. Even as everything intensifies with the playoffs, Moore-Martin is confident in her team’s ability to continue dominating. 

“We’re just going to do what we do,” Moore-Martin said. “We’re just going to keep on trying to get better every day.”

Salpointe also has a pretty big leg-up on its competition when it comes to experience in the postseason. Not only have a majority of the girls on the roster already been in this position for beach volleyball playoffs, but a number of them also are involved in other sports on campus and have helped bring home other championships for the Lancers. 

When the first round of team play starts on April 18, the Lancers will host the No. 16 Canyon del Oro Dorados as their quest for another title continues. 

“Monday is our day,” Moore-Martin said. “We aren’t even going past that. It was great to be (at Casteel) in the sand just so we could play beach volleyball, but we’re not getting past Monday. Monday is the day we need to focus on and it doesn’t go any further than that.”

Should they win, as anticipated, they’ll continue on to host whoever is the winner between the No. 8 Deer Valley Skyhawks and No. 9 Gilbert Christian Knights in the Quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Brittany Bowyer is a freelance journalist who started her career as an intern for a small sports website back in 2015. Since then, she’s obtained her master’s degree in Sports Journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at ASU and is in her fourth year of covering various levels of sports across a broad range of platforms in Arizona. You can follow her on twitter @bbowyer07

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