Serving up firsts
By Gabriella Supsura
After a successful interest meeting was held in May 2023, the boys’ volleyball team at Nation Ford was established and is here to stay.
“ I think there has always been a big interest in volleyball for boys,” Victoria Tysdal, the coach, said.
The boys fought for their first win on Sept. 6 against Rock Hill. The boys have been working hard on improving their skills, but also building the culture and foundation for boys’ volleyball at NFHS. On Oct. 4 the boys took place at Indian Land. The score wasn’t available at press time.
Boys volleyball was sanctioned and approved in South Carolina by the High School League executive committee on April 19, 2022, with a 12-0 vote to sanction boys volleyball as a varsity sport starting in the 2022-23 school year. State championships start this year.
The boys’ season will be played in the fall like the girls and boys’ volleyball is the most recently sanctioned sport since lacrosse. Boys volleyball is growing rapidly and is one of the fastest-growing sports in the country.
The majority of the boys on the volleyball team are fairly new to the sport and are trying to learn the game.
“Right now the number one priority is learning the sport,” said Dakota Bey, a setter for the team. “There are so many little mistakes we make just because we are so new, but we want to do our absolute best at all of our games.”
Not only have their volleyball skills significantly improved, but so has their athleticism overall.
“Now that we will have had a full season of boys learning the skills of the game, those that have never played will have to do a lot of work to make the team,” Coach Tory says.
The stereotype that hovers around volleyball is that the sport is for girls. This tends to draw boys away from playing the sport.
“We have a lot of kids that want to play, but there is still a major stereotype that this sport is only for females, which makes it hard for athletic people to want to play,” Bey said.
So far at NFHS, there is more turnout at the girl’s games than the boy’s games, but the boys don’t seem to be too bothered by that because they are having fun while playing.
The stereotype makes it more challenging to recruit players, but another hurdle is that the girl’s volleyball practices after school while the boys have to get up early to practice Monday through Thursday from 6:15 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. Although the practices are early, the boys seem to like it because they can leave school at the end of the day.
Since this is the first year of boys’ volleyball, this allows the team to establish their culture and traditions around the game. They are still establishing and creating it, as they are in the middle of the season, but the coach has clear goals for the team.
“I would like to see the boys grow as young men, and push each other to be their best every day,” Coach Tysdale says. “Slacking shows in games if it happens during practice. I want them to learn how to be timely, respectful, and positive players. I want them to love coming into the gym so much that they don’t want to leave when practice is over.
“Now, how does this equate to culture? It’s kind of up to them on what they choose to bring to the table, but those are the things Coach Stockunas and I would like to see,” she said.