Bridgewater Middle sisters go all-in on beach volleyball
Cassidy and Amanda Chambers, members of the Bridgewater Middle School championship volleyball team, have dedicated themselves to beach volleyball — making names for themselves in the process.
| 6:30 p.m. March 2, 2017
HORIZON WEST For Cassidy and Amanda Chambers, their interest in beach volleyball was really rooted in the hope of improving at indoor volleyball.
Formerly competing for Orlando Tampa Volleyball Academy, the girls became aware that some of their peers also were playing beach volleyball as a way to hone their all-around skills. With only two athletes on a team in the sand version of the sport, it is incumbent on each player to be able to do everything.
Both sisters already had bright futures in indoor volleyball; each played for highly competitive national teams that regularly brought home the hardware. Cassidy, 14, and Amanda, 12, also were teammates on the Bridgewater Middle School team that won the Orange County Public Schools Championship recently without losing a single set.
Along the way, though, something clicked — and now the Horizon West sisters are all-in on the beach version of the sport.
“It really clicked last year, because we went to the Junior Olympics in California, and the competition there was just incredible,” Cassidy said. “You see all these girls, and you see how serious they are. I realized if I really want to get good at this, I have to commit all my time to this.”
Now, instead of commuting to the nearby OTVA facility in Orlando, Tim and Laura Chambers take their daughters twice a week to Cocoa, where they train with the Cape Coast Volleyball Club. On the weekends, the family travels around the state for tournaments.
Although the mileage does add up, Tim Chambers said it has been fun to see the way his girls have taken to the sport.
“Even though they (indoor and beach volleyball) seem similar, they’re quite a bit different,” Chambers said. “I think the girls like (beach volleyball) because they’re in charge of their own destiny. They finish a tournament knowing, ‘This is what I need to work on.’”
“You do the defense, you do the hitting, the setting, the passing — you do everything. … When you play one position in indoor, you’re focused on that one job. When you place beach, you become well-rounded.”
— Cassidy Chambers
Indeed, both girls said they enjoy that — with only one teammate on a beach team — they feel a heightened sense of ownership in each result. They also enjoy the atmosphere that can be found at beach tournaments.
“In indoor, there was so much pressure in any game,” Amanda said. “It’s very casual (at beach), and if you make the mistake you tell yourself ‘I’m going to fix it.’”
Although the two girls are all-in on beach volleyball and have set their sights on earning scholarship offers as beach players, Cassidy, at least, also plans to play indoor for Windermere High, where she will be a freshman this fall.
While that program promises to be competitive from its inception, Cassidy — who is an outside hitter in the indoor game — feels like the skills she has picked up playing beach volleyball may set her apart during tryouts.
“It made me so much better,” Cassidy said. “You do the defense, you do the hitting, the setting, the passing — you do everything. … When you play one position in indoor, you’re focused on that one job. When you place beach, you become well-rounded.”
The girls, who are making a name for themselves, are excited to grow right along with the sport. Hopefully, that growth leads to a college scholarship.
If it does, they’ll owe an extra special “thank you” to their parents, who don’t mind doing whatever is necessary to help them chase their dreams.
“We try to be pretty appreciative (of our parents),” Amanda said. “It’s pretty difficult to get everything together. Our parents have to wake up way earlier than us to make lunches and pack clothes and a tent.”
Not that Tim and Laura mind too much.
“It’s fun,” Tim said. “We like to watch our kids play, and once we got out there and they’re playing in the sand — we enjoy it a lot.”