(Ventura, CA) The score was secondary with the debut of Mt. SAC Women's Beach Volleyball on Wednesday.
Although it was a tough, 5-0, loss on the windy beaches of Ventura, a new chapter in the long history of Mt. SAC Athletics arrived with the 23rd sport on the Walnut campus.
Under the leadership of Mt. SAC Women's Beach Volleyball Coach Ali Carey-Oliver, 12 women will represent the Mounties in the inaugural season on the sand.
It will be a season on the 'road' for the Mounties as their sand courts aren't expected to be ready until the 2019 season. The new facility will be located to the south of the soccer complex.
Nine players from the indoor team are on the current beach roster, including All-South Coast Conference selections, Jordon Wilson, Sierra Lujan, Malia Carr, Lindsey Lane, Brianda Valdez and Shaiann Palos.
Along with these six, Natalya Fajardo, Ashly Velazquez and Alyssa Bloomfield, three red shirts from last seasons' indoor squad, are also part of the team. "They will be battling it out most of the year for the 5th spot on our active roster," Carey-Oliver said. "All three work hard and are very competitive."
"These women have really taken on the challenge to move from indoor to the beach," Carey-Oliver said. "They are learning new skills every day that will make them better in the fall. "Many people don't realize how many technical differences there are between the sports. It's actually very challenging to go from the gym to the sand."
The competing team will consist of five two-women teams, ranked in order of one to five. Each two-player team will be playing the best of three sets, with five matches to decide an overall team winner.
In the initial match against Ventura, the team battled the wind for most of the match.
"It was a tough first day for us out in Ventura," Mt. SAC coach Ali Carey-Oliver said. "We had a significant amount of wind in the harbor that created a number of problems for us. Ventura is a good squad and training daily in that wind definitely provided an advantage for the Pirates."
Mt. SAC's No. 1 team of Carr and Palos fell in the first game, but battled in the second and nearly captured the set, losing by a mere two points, 21-19.
The No. two pair of Wilson and Lujan led for most of the first game before Ventura came alive.
"We'll take this first loss as an opportunity to learn and grow," Carey-Oliver said. "We'll look to regroup for Friday as we go after our first win."
The Mounties will travel to San Diego Mesa College on Friday to play three matches against Victor Valley, Cypress and host Sand Diego Mesa.
Ventura College 5, Mt SAC 0
Follow Mt. SAC Women's Volleyball on Twitter @MtSAC_BeachVB
For additional information, please contact the Mt. SAC Sports Information Office at 909.274.4630.