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Lakewood Long Beach Poly Millikan Volleyball Wilson

Long Beach Poly Wins First Moore League Beach Volleyball Title

The Long Beach Poly beach volleyball team claimed the first Moore League championship in the sport thanks to a one-loss run through the four-team league this season. The Jackrabbits dropped two matches but were atop the league at 10-2 in the best-of-five format, which featured much of the league’s young indoor talent.

First-year coach Meaghan Sefuiva said she was proud of her team for bringing home the trophy in their inaugural effort.

“Everything’s new, we’re still learning but it’s an amazing feeling,” she said. “Everyone is liking beach now, it was a good start for them.”

The temperature on the sand at LBCC’s beach courts was scalding on Thursday afternoon, so most of the players were sporting socks as Wilson beat Millikan 4-1 to wrap up second place, and Poly beat Lakewood 4-1 to sew up their strong regular season.

Poly’s top duo on the season was USC signee and All-American Adonia Faumuina with sophomore standout Halie McGinest; the Jackrabbits lost just one match they played together.

“It was really fun, I enjoyed getting to play with Adonia again before she goes away to college,” said McGinest. The duo will be one of the top-seeded teams in next week’s pairs tournament, which will see them compete against Chloe Pravednikov and Kate Eckenrode from Wilson, Yvonne Barnes and Nyla Hawkins from Lakewood, and Olivia Smith and Isabella Giarla from Millikan.

Pairs play begins Monday with those four top seeded teams plus four others from each school; the championship is slated for Wednesday. McGinest likes she and her partner’s chances.

“We’re very motivated and excited to go win something for Poly,” she said.

Lakewood didn’t come away empty-handed on Thursday; their top pair of Barnes and Hawkins defeated McGinest and partner Sydney Mercado 21-17, 21-19 for the Lancers’ only win of the day. Poly got a three-set victory from freshmen Emma Holder and Saniya Kimbrough as they prevailed over Kristen Orellana and Andrea Briseno in a thriller.

“Switching from indoor to beach was really hard but the season was fun,” said Kimbrough, who, like most of the other players, was leaving beach matches to go to indoor club practices. “It was a great learning experience.”

Both Holder and Kimbrough said they liked getting more touches and to experience more parts of the sport on the beach.

“You get to really do everything,” said Holder. “You work on everything–there aren’t points where you’re just not involved in the play.”

The Moore League pairs finals will kick off Monday at 3 p.m. back at LBCC.

Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.