Lowcountry schools launch varsity boys’ volleyball for first time

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 8:21 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - For the first time this fall, boys’ volleyball is an official, varsity sport, through the South Carolina High School League.

Some high schools have had club teams over the last few years, but the 2022-23 school year is the first year that boys volleyball is a sanctioned SCHSL sport.

Ten schools in the Lowcountry area have already started varsity, boys’ volleyball teams. For some players, it’s a chance to finally play the sport they love for their high school. And for others, like Beck Sanders at Wando High School, it’s a chance to try something new.

“I think just getting it going, it’s really cool to see the mindset of people and the team and it’s kind of like an outlet for some of us on the team,” Sanders, a right-side hitter, said. “Because I know some of the people here don’t have that many friends at Wando or they just want a sport to play. And volleyballs like an easy sport to play that you can just get into with a bunch of people.”

Bishop England is another school that’s added the sport this year.

“My older sister always played volleyball throughout high school and I always thought it was cool to practice with her and so the second I found out we had a team I knew I had to play,” Joey Gurney, Bishop England Senior right-side hitter, said.

For Wando High School boys volleyball head coach, Bruno Kretzschmar, he says it’s been nice to see the shift in societal norms where the boy’s teams are learning from more established girls’ volleyball teams and coaches. He said Wando girls volleyball head coach, Alexis Glover, has played a pivotal role in helping him lead this program.

“I joke with Coach Glover that maybe our boys can scrimmage your JV girls. You know, and they can kick our butts and we can get humbled a little bit,” Kretzschmar said. “But, I love it, personally, and I can’t wait until we get to the same level or similar to the girls where we’re known state wide for being a strong team.”

Hanahan High School boys’ team head coach, Craig Bachman, said Sheena Lanham, the girls’ head coach for the Hawks, has been one of the biggest assets to their program.

“We’ve borrowed everything from them, and she’s been super helpful not only loaning gear and making gym time for us, but also in giving pointers because she’s a much more experienced coach as well as competitor,” Bachman said.

At Bishop England, boys’ volleyball head coach Alec Swanson says they’ve had the girls’ volleyball team come over and help teach the guys some rules of the game and pointers.

“Kind of installing the knowledge and stuff,” Swanson said. “You know, girls have played since they were five years old where installing the knowledge in these boys who have really only played P.E. style volleyball.”

Kelly Owens is the Palmetto Volleyball Regional Boys Outreach Director. She says across the state there are up to 38 schools planning to have varsity boys volleyball this season. She added that they’re hearing from more schools who would like to have teams next year.

According to the SCHSL, there won’t be a boys’ volleyball state championship until next season, the 2023-24 school year.