Just call them the best.
MiraCosta College Women’s Beach Volleyball team has captured the 2017 California Community College Women’s Beach Volleyball Championships, completing an undefeated season in community college play and establishing the squad as among the best two-year college teams in the country.
The top-seeded Spartans took the title in style, defeating Long Beach City College, 4-1, before edging Pacific Coast Conference rival – and 2016 champions – Grossmont College, 3-2. MiraCosta clinched the championship with a 3-0 win over second-seeded Feather River during a May 5 round robin tournament at West Valley College in the Northern California city of Saratoga. (Each squad fields five, two-person teams that match up against the competition. The final match was not played to completion because MiraCosta had clinched the title after winning three games against Feather River.)
“It feels unbelievable and it reflects the hard work our girls put forth during the year and a testament to their dedication,” said coach Doug Wright, who earned honors as Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Coach of the Year. “A majority of our team had never even played beach volleyball before. It feels amazing to come together as a group and accomplish something so big.”
Sophomore Maile Sellers, who has earned a beach volleyball scholarship to Concordia University Irvine, said the Spartans were motivated by a loss in the state playoffs during the fall indoor season after going undefeated in conference play.
“It feels so good to know that all the work we put in was worth it,” Sellers said. “We were on the beach a couple of hours a day, five days a week, working out, practicing, being there for each other.”
This is just the third year that beach volleyball has been a sanctioned community college sport. The California Community College Athletic Association launched its inaugural sand season in the spring of 2015, and MiraCosta College won the conference title that first year.
Three years later, it is at the top of its game.
“Winning a state championship is an incredible accomplishment for anyone,” said Patrick Conahan, director of athletics and intramural sports. “There are so many great teams and so many hurdles overcome. We couldn’t be happier.”
The secret to MiraCosta College’s success? “The recruiting is tremendous, the coaching is fantastic, and the team culture here is beyond compare,” Conahan said.
Sellers added another element. “The chemistry that we have on the team makes it more like a family,” she said.
MiraCosta is not resting on its laurels. “Our goal is to get better every year, and we plan to be back as good as ever next year,” Wright said. “MiraCosta has a reputation for academic excellence, and we’re doing a good job establishing a similar reputation for athletics, as well.”