Immanuel concludes beach volleyball season

Home playoff loss to Paso Robles wraps up successful inaugural campaign for Eagles, section postseason tournament wraps up Saturday in San Luis Obispo

Immanuel High’s Mary Degraw makes a hit as teammate Spencer Horn looks on during a 21-14, 21-14 victory over Paso Robles High in a first round Central Section playoff matchup on the beach volleyball courts at Immanuel Sports Complex on April 30. The visiting Bearcats won two of three matches to end the Eagles’ inaugural season with a 7-7 record. (Jon Earnest)
Immanuel High’s Mary Degraw makes a hit as teammate Spencer Horn looks on during a 21-14, 21-14 victory over Paso Robles High in a first round Central Section playoff matchup on the beach volleyball courts at Immanuel Sports Complex on April 30. The visiting Bearcats won two of three matches to end the Eagles’ inaugural season with a 7-7 record. (Jon Earnest)
Jon Earnest
Published May 2, 2024  • 
11:00 am

REEDLEY – Immanuel High’s new beach volleyball program completed a successful first season this week by hosting a home match in the 13-school Central Section playoffs.

The Eagles were seeded eighth against the No. 9 seed Paso Robles High Bearcats (9-3) in the Tuesday afternoon matchup at Immanuel Sports Complex, and dropped two of three competitive matches to finish with a 7-7 record. Paso Robles advanced to the section championship tournament on Saturday, May 4 at Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo; they will play top seed San Luis Obispo High in a morning match.

Immanuel’s top doubles team of junior Mary Degraw and sophomore Spencer Horm provided the team’s one match victory, prevailing by 21-14 scores in both sets over the Bearcats’ McKenzie Cobb and Kuley Bowman. The Eagles’ “twos” team of sophomores Lily Hughes and Tori Visser lost 21-9, 23-21 while the threes tandem of junior Leilah Hilvers and freshman Ainsley Jackson were edged by scores of 21-16, 21-18.

Toiri Ortman, Immanuel head coach, said the beach program’s first season went as well as expected.

“I am very proud of the work these young women have put into practice and competition,” she said. “To qualify for playoffs in our first season was a big highlight for us, and we are excited for what the future holds out here on the sand.”

Immanuel High players, at right, Spencer Horn (6) and Mary Degraw take on in Paso Robles High’s McKenzie Cobb and Kiley Bowman in the top doubles match during a first round Central Section playoff matchup on the beach volleyball courts at Immanuel Sports Complex on April 30. Horn and Degraw prevailed in two sets but the visiting Bearcats won the match, 2-1, ending the Eagles’ inaugural season with a 7-7 record. (Jon Earnest)

The Eagles competed in an abbreviated league with fellow area schools Central Valley Christian and Exeter, and all schools went 1-1 in round-robin matchups. Both the Cavaliers and Monarchs dropped their first-round section matchups, and No. 2 seed San Joaquin Memorial is the lone Fresno or Tulare County school remaining in the postseason.

Section quarterfinal, semifinal and championship matches all will be played in San Luis Obispo, with the title match scheduled to be played late afternoon.

Ortman thanked Immanuel High’s administration and Chris Stevens, athletics director, along with athlete families and fans for their support in getting the program established.

“It’s a blessing to work somewhere where we can pursue Christ through our athletics and build a competitive program,” she said.

Jon Earnest
Reporter