Girls beach volleyball heads to the CIF finals

Bump! Set! Spike! Dive … into the sand! The TPHS girls beach volleyball team won their Coastal League Championship on April 18, marking their third year as undefeated league champions. 

This year, the Falcons are determined to take home the CIF Open Division Championship title after being the runners-up in CIF competition for the past two years.

Mai Plsek (12), a varsity player of three years, is looking to end her senior season with a ring. 

“My season so far has been amazing — my partner and I haven’t lost a game yet,” Plsek said. “There’s been some good competition, and we have been playing great.” 

Girls beach volleyball has only been a CIF sport for three years. Prior to 2021, the team’s season ended after the league championship. 

“My favorite year was probably my sophomore year, which was the first year beach volleyball became a CIF sport, so it just made that year super special,” Plsek said. 

This season, the coaching staff is JV head coach Tom Nicholas, assistant coach Jeff Waldal and varsity head, and former assistant coach, Sean Pope. 

“Our coaching staff has always been amazing; all of the coaches are so wonderful and always push me to be a better player,” Plsek said. 

Conner Oxberry (9), a first year member of the beach varsity team, dreamed about playing for TPHS since she started her volleyball career at age nine.

“TPHS beach volleyball is what I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. It’s a great way to make new friends and get extra reps in,” Oxberry said.

The majority of team members this year are underclassmen, Oxberry being one of five freshmen on varsity.

“We have a very young team, 18 freshmen [in total], and we have been undefeated in league for the past three years.” Pope said. “These girls are amazing.”

The Falcons aim to continue their successful season, hoping to win the CIF championship.  

Especially for the three seniors on varsity — Plsek, Isa Wilklund (12) and Nethra Mahendran (12) — winning the championship is on their minds as they head into the CIF playoffs.

The team won their first two playoff games — besting La Jolla High School on April 25 and Cathedral Catholic High School on April 30. The Dons, who were first seeded going into this season’s playoffs, beat the Falcons for the past two years in the CIF championship. 

“I’m so hyped that we won, and if we play Cathedral again in the finals, I hope we can take the win like we did today,” Plsek said.

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