Randy Angel

Their Endless Summer: Hermosa Beach-based Endless Summer Volleyball Club allows girls to train and compete year round while showcasing their talents to college coaches

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Members of the Endless Summer Volleyball Club’s 14U National Championship team include (left to right) Club Director Daron Forbes, Eden McCoy, Colby Bennett, Tatiana Rusich, MayMay Brown, Kevyn Clark , Ella Dreibholz, Ava Guerra, Lauren Bays, Madeline Bonanni and Coach Rob McClean. Missing: Serena Ramirez, Ava Kirunchyk and Natalie Myszkowski. Photo courtesy of Daron Forbes

by Randy Angel

When recent Mira Costa High School graduate Presley Forbes began playing for an indoor volleyball club in 2010, she didn’t foresee it becoming a life changing decision. With her father, James, gravely ill, her mother Daron had stepped up to pave the way for Presley to receive an athletic scholarship from the University of Hawaii, where she will begin her career in beach volleyball this fall.

“My impression was that I should do more for Presley and her twin brother Niko,” Daron said. “The year my husband passed away, I created the We Are Volleyball Elite indoor volleyball club in his honor. The club soon picked up the nickname “Team WAVE.”

University of Hawaii-bound Presley Forbes is the first Endless Summer to attend college on an athletic scholarship. Photo by Roland Villapando

Team WAVE began offering beach volleyball training in 2014,  when it evolved into a club and took the name Endless Summer Volleyball Club (ESVC).

With women’s beach volleyball now an NCAA-sanctioned sport offering athletic scholarships, the growth of the sport for young girls continued to rise.

Endless Summer trains only twice a week on the north side of the Hermosa Beach Pier. There are no tryouts and players are grouped together by their level of ability with no more than 6-8 athletes on a court.

“ESVC has a different vibe, with fewer girls on a court,” Presley Forbes said. “It’s very nice to get special attention from the coaches. Getting more touches on the ball is key to improvement.”

The training has paid dividends for Forbes, who is the first ESVC player to attend college on an athletic scholarship. She began playing beach volleyball at the age of 8, competing in the Great American Volleyball Tournaments in hometown of Manhattan Beach. She is currently among the top five AAA players in the California Beach Volleyball Association (CBVA).

Daron believes her daughter is the youngest player ever to earn an A rating,which she received when she was 11. Presley’s journey through the sand has not come easily. She has not grown since she was 12 and is just  5-foot-3.

Presley serves as a role model for undersized players,” Daron said. “She was first noticed by a collegiate coach at a Get Noticed Beach Volleyball college recruiting showcase where athletes and coaches come together for high level play and recruiting.”

“Height isn’t everything. You just have to work harder and make those special plays that other girls don’t make,” Presley explained. “Sometimes it makes me better because people underestimate me. My style of play is short, fast ball. I’m not quite sure why I like faster sets and like to pass low.”

Before she leaves the mainland, Forbes will compete in the AVP Manhattan Beach Open (August 17-20) with Alyssa Slagerman, who will be attending UCLA in the fall.

Along with the ESVC, Daron Forbes founded the Get Noticed Beach Volleyball (GNBV.net) recruiting showcase in 2014. The event brings players and college coaches together for players to display their talents and for coaches to start relationships.

Winning the top four spots in the 14U division at the AAU Best of the Beach were ESVC members (bottom row) Ella Dreibolz, Natalie Myszkowski, Serena Ramirez, (top row), Tatiana Rusich, Colby Bennett, Eden McCoy, Ava Kirunchyk and Ava Guerra. Photo by Daron Forbes

GNBV events have included coaches from Pepperdine, UCLA, University of Arizona, Stetson, So Carolina, Tulane, LB State, Pepperdine, Northridge, Cal Poly, and TCU.

The next event will be Sunday, Oct. 22 at Ocean Park in Santa Monica.

Earlier this year, Forbes and Team WAVE founded the Junior Beach Volleyball League (jbvl.org). It’s operated similarly to indoor and run the same season, from January through June. Players participate through their clubs in five divisions. The championship tournament is in June.

At the Beach Volleyball Clubs of America (BVCA) National Championships held in Hermosa Beach July 10-13, ESVC finished second to Elite in team points, led by a strong 14U team that won the national title. Six ESVC teams finished in the top 10 out of 125 teams.

ESVC 14U teams also won the JBVL and captured the top four spots at the AAU Best of the Beach tournament in Hermosa Beach July 26-27.

Local players Ava Kirunchyk (Hermosa Beach, Redondo Union) and Natalie Myszkowski (Manhattan Beach, Mira Costa) paired to place fifth at the BVCA and second at the AVPFirst National Championships, where ESVC players medaled in the 12U, 14U 18U divisions.

Both events were held in Hermosa Beach.

“Playing in the championship match was was so exciting because I got to experience what it was like to play in front of many people,” said Kirunchyk, who began training with ESVC in the spring. “So many of my former partners were playing with ESVC and the group of players I train with are not only talented, but they are also very competitive and supportive of each other.”

Manhattan Beach’s Natalie Myszkowski placed second at the AVPFirst National Championships in Hermosa Beach. Photo by Randy Angel

Kirunchyk, who will be trying out for the indoor team at Redondo Union High School, said she hopes to earn a college scholarship and play in the Olympics.

“My older sister,Karina trained at Endless Summer and they taught me at age 13 the same skills the high school girls were learning,” Myszkowski said. “I’m getting the technical training I need as well as experience playing ‘big girl’ volleyball. It’s a chess, not ping pong.”

She feels dedication is her strong point in beach volleyball. She has dropped club soccer and club indoor volleyball.

“I’m focused on all aspects of the game,” Myszkowski said. “The coaches at Endless Summer are always pushing us to be our best and to advance to the next level.”

The ESVC 14 team also includes Mira Costa students Madeline Bonanni and Kevyn Clark and San Pedro’s Serena Ramirez.

“Our most memorable time as a club was the AVP Hermosa this year.The coaches and players were all competing at the same time and the players and families had an opportunity to watch and cheer on our coaches and see them in action,” Daron Forbes said. “Coach Ozz Borges won entry into the AVP Hermosa main draw.”

Other ESVC coaches include Andrew Dentler, Miles Evans, Jason C Dibelius, Nate Yang ad Rob McClean.

ESVC coaches are current players at the professional open level, with AVP, FIVB, and Norceca.  

ESVC is more than a local club, attracting players from throughout Southern California and beyond.

Players on the 14U team include Colby Bennett (Tustin, Mater Dei High School), Santa Monica’s Ella Dreibholz and Ava Guerra, Lauren Bays (Irvine, Santa Margarita Catholic High School), Eden McCoy (Los Angeles, Marlborough) and Tatiana Rusich (Tustin, Beckman).

The team also includes MayMay Brown of Wichita, Kansas.

“MayMay travels out several times a year to train with ESVC,” Forbes said. “When she’s at home she does mobile beach coaching. She records practices and sends the video video to Andrew Dentler, who provides corrections and suggestions.”

McCoy and Rusich teamed to win bronze in the 14U division at the AVPFirst tournament. The year-round training has made it more convenient for the teenagers, particularly McCoy who has played the role of Josslyn Jacks on the ABC soap opera General Hospital since 2015.

“My schedule is not easy, but I am really lucky to have support from my fellow players, friends, coaches and family,” McCoy said. “There are definitely sacrifices that I make in my social life so that I can keep my grades up and still work on my show and train, but I am usually happy to make them because I’m getting an opportunity to do what I love.”

McCoy feels she has become a stronger defender and passer this year while improving court awareness and gaining confidence with her cut shots and specialty shots. She continues to work on her defense and plans to compete in women’s tournaments in the fall when the youth season ends.

“When I first came to Endless Summer I had a really good feeling,” McCoy said. “Daron and the coaches seemed very focused on working on what each player’s strengths and what skills we needed to focus on to improve. No one got any more attention than anyone else just because they had played longer or had more tournament experience or wins.

“It was unbelievably exciting to win the BVCA national championship because we did it as an entire team. Daron treats us like daughters, but she also spends time encouraging sportsmanship, bonding with each other and respect for each other as athletes and people.”

Dreibholz, who travels from Santa Monica, captured first place at the AAU Best of the Beach tournament. She believes playing the outside hitter position as an indoor player has translated to offensive strength on the sand court.

“I started training with ESVC at the beginning of 2017.” Dreibholz said. “I chose ESVC for two reasons: we train in small groups and we only train with girls at our level, which pushes all of us to improve.”

Several ESVC players who will be high school seniors in the fall have been recruited this year, including Manhattan Beach’s Georgia Kobel (Arizona State) and Karina Myszkowski (USC), Lauren Lanesey (Woodland Hills, Long Beach State) and recent Redondo Union graduate Madi Relaz (Grand Canyon University, who joined ESVC in June.

Two other senior prospects are Katherine Hofmann and Selene Ramirez.

ESVC trains Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-6 p.m. on the north side of the Hermosa Beach Pier. The next season starts Tuesday, Sept. 5. For more information, visit endlessvb.com.

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