Women’s beach volleyball tears through Florida spring break trip

The Mustangs finished with a 6-2 record in the Sunshine State this past week
The Womens Beach Volleyball team in Florida last weekend. Photo courtesy of Stevenson_wvb on Instagram.
The Women’s Beach Volleyball team in Florida last weekend. Photo courtesy of Stevenson_wvb on Instagram.

Stevenson women’s beach volleyball’s spring break was filled with great weather and winning. The Mustangs won six of eight matches over six days.  

A crucial reason for their dominance was execution in three-set matches. The Mustangs battled to three sets all weekend, facing 14 matches of the sort over spring break. Despite the adversity, Stevenson was lights out in the deciding set, coming out victorious in 11 of the 14 matches.  

Senior Olivia Simon knew their victories came as a result of hard work and wanting it more than whoever was on the other side.  

Sam Simmers (left) and Olivia Simon (right) prepare to receive a serve. Photo courtesy of Stevenson_wvb on Instagram.

“The third set in [beach] volleyball is all about grit and hard work, especially when we are competing in close games in the Florida heat,” Simon said. “It comes down to which pair believes they can win and who wants to work harder. The third set is also about getting off to a good start. Since it’s a short game to 15, every point matters. It feels so good to win a close match in three sets, so I use that feeling as motivation when I feel down.”

The action started Sunday, March 10 with a doubleheader against Lake Sumter State College. The Mustangs would only drop two of the doubleheader’s 10 sets with match scores of 5-0 and 3-2.  

The team resumed game action on Tuesday, splitting with Division II opponents Saint Leo University and Barry University. Duel scores were a 5-0 loss and a 4-1 win respectively.  

On Thursday, the Mustangs were back with two victories. Barry University was again dealt with in a gentleman’s sweep 4-1 fashion, while the Warriors of Webber International were dispatched 3-2.  

The trip finished with another split on Saturday against Division II competition in Florida Southern College (FSC) and Palm Beach State College. The first match against FSC would be tightly contested but end in a 2-3 defeat. However, the Mustangs would end the trip with a sweep, taking down Palm Beach State 5-0.  

This was no ordinary away trip for the Mustangs. Instead of the usual cramped hotel room between games, teammates enjoyed the luxury of an Air BnB where the team lived together for the week.  

For sophomore Samantha Simmers, who went 6-2 on the weekend at the No. 5 pair with Simon, the living situation helped bring the team together even more. 

“I think that living in the house allows us to get even closer to each other,” Simmers said. “Being in a hotel forces us to have lots of separation from each other. When living in the house we are constantly watching movies, playing games, swimming in the pool or just hanging out. It allows the family aspect of our team to become even more apparent both on and off the court.” 

On top of living together, plenty of time was made for the ladies to enjoy themselves in the gorgeous Florida weather. Relaxation was a must for the Mustangs with a trip to the beach and plenty of down time by the pool. The down time allowed for the team to recharge between the rigorous twice-daily match schedule.  

Caleigh Bernota (left) and her partner Sima Kahoussi (right) celebrate a point last week. Photo courtesy of Stevenson_wvb on Instagram.
Caleigh Bernota (left) and her partner Sima Kahoussi (right) celebrate a point last week. Photo courtesy of Stevenson_wvb on Instagram.

Senior Caleigh Bernota knew how important getting rest was for the team, especially with the change to hot and humid Florida weather.

“Being able to have the afternoons to recharge was crucial,” Bernota said. “It allowed us to physically recover and mentally prepare for the next day’s matches. We weren’t used to playing in the heat, so it was great to be able to relax in the air conditioning and recuperate.”

The Mustangs are right back to work this weekend, taking on a three-match slate this weekend, March 22-23, at Berry College in Georgia as part of a Division III-only tournament. Games will be live-streamed on the Stevenson Women’s Volleyball Instagram page. 

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About the Contributor
Kevin Kouchoukos, Sports Reporter
Kevin is a sophomore communication studies major with a minor in marketing from Nottingham, New Hampshire. He wants to pursue a career in sports media and PR. Outside of The Villager, Kevin also works with the athletic communications department. He is also a member of the Stevenson men's beach and indoor volleyball teams. Kevin also has a cockapoo named Wrigley and two cats named Pumpkin and Brian.
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