Women’s beach team enjoys lighter fall schedule in preparation for busy spring
A solid returning foundation of players complemented by a promising recruiting class has Liberty University’s women’s beach volleyball team reaching for new heights in the upcoming spring competitive season.
“We’re excited for this season,” Lady Flames Head Coach Kaleb VanDePerre said. “We’ve got a lot of returners. We graduated a few, but we’re excited about our recruitment class that came in … and picked up a few really good players at tryouts.”
While Liberty’s men’s beach team has been extremely active in the fall, the women will focus on conditioning and developing strong pairings with one another during this semester before taking on top-level talent in the spring.
Kaitlyn Holbrook, who has played the past two years on the No. 1 tandem after transferring from NCAA Division I Coastal Carolina, said the team has gotten off to a great start this semester.
“We have a good amount of seniors, juniors, all the way down to brand new freshmen,” she said. “We’re training really hard right now in the offseason. We lift two times a week and practice three times a week, sort of just building up the team dynamic for the fall and getting ready for the spring season.”
Lexi Kruse returned to pursue her master’s degree and plans to stay with the team for two more years.
“Getting to meet new girls and just build that dynamic with them, we’re super excited coming back this season carrying off of last year … and really building that chemistry,” she said.
VanDePerre said he and Assistant Coach Jess Nelson continue to raise the bar for their players.
“Our talent continues to get better,” he said. “Beach volleyball is just the fastest growing sport right at the junior level. There are so many girls playing. Liberty is really unique in what we can offer as a school. We’re just trying to offer the most competitive sand experience with a really Christ-centered (program).”
Competition-wise, the Lady Flames believe they can contend with the best NCAA Division I and II programs in the Southeast.
“We’ve got some really big schools on the schedule, we’ve got some fun travel,” VanDePerre said. “This year, that upperclassman kind of mindset is, ‘Why can’t we compete with them? We’re just as good and we have just as many resources, so let’s get out there and see what we can do.”
“We’re definitely a really competitive team,” Kruse added. “We’ve been able to see that we can hang with those NCAA Division I programs and that’s kind of added fuel to the fire … and we want to keep building it for years to come.”
Video edited by Micah Adams/Club Sports Video & Media Assistant