When the 2021 NCAA Beach Volleyball National Championship Selection Show came on yesterday I waited in total excitement for my former players. On the top 10 teams in the country, we had 15 players waiting to see if their teams made the cut. For some of them it would be their first time there while for others, seniors who had put their lives on hold when Covid canceled their seasons last year and they made the decision to come back and give it one more shot, it could be their last. As the schools were read I felt a mix of emotions. Sadness for those that weren't selected and excitement for those that were. When all was said and done, we had the following players on the following teams make the cut.
#2 USC- Hailey Harward
#4 LSU- Claire Coppola, Kelli Agnew, and Brooke Blutreich
#6 Stanford- Abby Converse
#7 Cal Poly- Macy Gordon and Jayelin Lombard
#8 TCU- Caroline White and Trinity Cavanaugh
Covid had cut the season short in 2020 and for our juniors players currently in our program it had been two full years since they had gotten to see a national championship. Many of these players were new to our program and didn't know just how many players that had come before them were off still chasing their dreams in college. Leading up to this week I had been preparing a video trying to link our program, our family, together. I wanted to show the current players that if they stayed the course and kept working hard that their dreams of competing at the highest levels in college were possible. I wanted to show our alumni just how proud of them we are and that even though they are gone, all of us are still watching as they continue to blaze the path and set NCAA records. That video is below.
The NCAA National Championship was first established in 2016 and RPM Sand has had multiple players playing for teams in every single NCAA tournament since its inception. This year with 9 players, to my knowledge, we have more players in one single NCAA Tournament than every other beach volleyball club in Arizona has EVER had at the tournament... Combined... The success of this program has a lot to do with the coaches and especially its director, Ryan Mariano, but it is also a combined effort of every single player, their parents, and extended families. Something truly special is never one person. It takes buy in from all parties. It takes total dedication to greatness day in and day out. While our club definitely has its faults and is far from perfect, we are #rpmfamily4life and we take the bad and continue to try to make it better, together. You don't have 71 Division 1 players in 8 years without everyone giving it their all, together. You don't have multiple All-Americans, without the willingness to continue to strive for greatness, together. We are so proud of our athletes! We are so proud of the example they set on and off the court for others. We are proud of the way they lift each other up and support each other in the pursuit of their goals and dreams. While we may stumble together and we may fall together, we will always rise, together.