No challenges could stop the Boise State sand volleyball team in their debut season.
The Broncos were able to overcome a steep learning curve in their transition from indoor, six person volleyball, to playing duals out in the sand—all with only one sand volleyball court to practice at.
Head coach Shawn Garus was grateful Boise State allowed his team to use the sand volleyball court located at the Lincoln Townhomes for this season, but admitted it was challenging to have 12 athletes use one court.
“The biggest challenge was getting consistent practice time without many sand volleyball courts available,” Garus said. “With one court and 12 athletes it was difficult to learn the differences between doubles vs six person volleyball.”
Garus won’t need to worry about having that challenge to overcome next season.
Boise State is currently building a new sand volleyball court facility across the street from the Lincoln turf field. The new facility will be able to host NCAA matches next season.
Insufficient practice only made the opening of the season that much more difficult for Boise State.
Playing more experienced teams in the first weekend of competition, the Broncos found themselves fall to a 2-3 record to start program history.
The difficulties of the opening week would only serve as a learning experience for Boise State however.
“We started the season with strong opponents in California,” Garus said. “Our players learned a lot that first weekend about how the sport is officiated, how important communication with your partner is and that they had the talent to be successful right away.”
Those lessons in officiating and communication would pave the way for the Broncos to go on a four game winning streak, with wins against more established Pac-12 programs Washington and Oregon.
“Winning close matches vs Oregon and Washington was a lot of fun,” Garus said. “It was confidence building for the rest of the sand season and hopefully it will carry over to the indoor season.”
Despite finishing the season with a 4-7 record, Garus called the debut of sand volleyball at Boise State a success, and believes it will pay dividends for the Broncos in the future.
“The new sport of sand volleyball had an excellent debut,” Garus said. “The team was able to win a few matches and gained valuable experience that will help us in the future.”