This week, The562’s coverage is sponsored by Long Beach Gives. Visit LongBeachGives.org to find your cause! Donations will be accepted through Sept. 22.
The562’s coverage of Long Beach Volleyball in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Misty May-Treanor and the Dream in Gold Foundation.
The562’s coverage of Long Beach Wilson Athletics is sponsored by Joel Bitonio, Class of 2009.
Chloe Pravednikov didn’t take a typical route to being one of the best girls’ volleyball players in Long Beach this year.
The junior outside hitter didn’t grow up playing the most elite club volleyball while receiving scholarship offers in the mail. Instead, she sacrificed a spot on a top team to get more experience and has taken it upon herself to reach out to college coaches for an opportunity to play at the next level.
All of that sacrifice has paid off as Pravednikov recently committed to Pepperdine and is a team captain at Wilson as the Bruins head into a very important Moore League match tonight against Millikan. The winner will take over second place in the Moore League.
“Chloe brings energy and competitiveness to every practice,” Wilson coach Gerald Aquiningoc said. “Besides her physical talent, she’s a leader and stays calm in high pressure situations. She’s an integral member of our program and is helping guide our team to be the best we can in league.”
Pravednikov is a rangy 6’2” outside hitter who honed her volleyball skills by playing with her family primarily on the local beaches. It was the tight bond of the sport that drew her away from playing other sports.
“I really liked the team aspect with a smaller team,” Pravednikov said. “There’s only six players on the court with you. In softball and soccer it’s a bigger team. I thought it was cool you could make stronger connections (with your teammates) when there’s less people on the court with you.”
Working hard to build that trust and connection with her teammates is a huge part of what Pravednikov brings as a team captain along with Allanah Smith, Sydney Scott and Kate Eckenrode.
“It’s about lifting up teammates,” Pravednikov said. “It’s not an individual sport and you need everyone to be doing well. It’s telling someone it’s okay and to move on to the next point.”
Pravednikov added that lack of connection and support is what was missing when Wilson lost to first-place Lakewood earlier this month. Pravednikov led the Bruins with a match-high 14 kills.
“I think we lost communication towards the end (of that match) and people were getting mad at each other so this match (against Millikan) we’re trying to work on that and finishing sets,” Pravednikov said. “(Last year) We were able to finish sets really well. And then we were able to build momentum onto the following set. I think that’s really helpful to winning big games. Momentum is a very big part of it.”
Pravednikov started playing club volleyball in Seal Beach when she was in sixth grade and was on the top team for her age bracket. After a year of trying to break through and get playing time with more experienced players, Pravednikov moved down a level to work on her game via experience in different positions.
“I definitely feel like I got better at passing,” Pravednikov said. “I was only playing front row (but after switching teams) I got to play all around and got a lot of good reps. I use that now at Wilson too.”
Just like her brother Leo did when he played volleyball at Wilson, Pravednikov has been proactive in getting herself in front of college coaches over the past few years. It worked for Leo, who is now at UC San Diego, and it worked for Pravednikov, who is excited to attend Pepperdine.
But first, Pravednikov knows she needs to keep growing as a leader if Wilson is going to make any noise in the league title race and upcoming postseason.
“I’m really proud we got second place in league with a lot of close matches last year,” Pravednikov said. “And we hope to make it further in CIF after our first-round exit.”