Hitting the Beach: Beach Ball paying dividends for local athletes

Hitting the Beach: Beach Ball paying dividends for local athletes
Via VYPE

During the past few years, the trend of beach volleyball has exploded.

Originally Appeared on VYPE

IT'S A SPORT THAT FORCES YOU TO BE GOOD AT EVERYTHING. Every position. Every skill. Every portion of volleyball – hitting, serving, ball placement, communication and physical endurance – that usually takes six players to fully operate.

Instead, it is just you and one teammate, roaming a slightly smaller court. But the biggest difference is the fact that the hardwood floor that you would normally launch yourself off is replaced with the always shifting sand.

"Beach volleyball is extremely challenging," Goose Creek Memorial's Zoe Martinez, who first saw beach volleyball in a magazine when she was 10, said. "It tests all of your skills as a volleyball player."

Martinez and teammate Nadia Karabanoff of Barbers Hill accepted the challenging sport and qualified for the USAV Beach Nationals in California at a tournament in Galveston this past summer. This marked the third time Martinez has qualified for the national beach tournament.

Karabanoff, who is coming off a solid freshman season for the Eagles, is using her sand season to improve her indoor game, which she is hoping will pay off starting in August.

"The sprints, jumps and countless touches on the ball in the hot Texas sand have all taken part in preparing me for the upcoming fall season," Karabanoff said. "I feel that training in the sand not only elevates the physical skills of the game but also the mental. Working through my own mistakes and finding ways to correct them without the help of a coach develops me into an overall better player."


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Justin Verlander will start for the Astros on Friday night. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images.

Houston Astros (22-28, third in the AL West) vs. Oakland Athletics (21-31, fourth in the AL West)

Oakland, California; Friday, 9:40 p.m. EDT

PITCHING PROBABLES: Astros: Justin Verlander (2-2, 3.97 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 26 strikeouts); Athletics: Ross Stripling (1-8, 5.19 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 32 strikeouts)

BETMGM SPORTSBOOK: LINE Astros -170, Athletics +142; over/under is 8 1/2 runs

BOTTOM LINE: The Oakland Athletics begin a three-game series at home against the Houston Astros on Friday.

Oakland has a 21-31 record overall and a 12-14 record in home games. The Athletics have hit 65 total home runs to rank third in the AL.

Houston is 22-28 overall and 8-13 in road games. The Astros have a 13-4 record in games when they did not allow a home run.

The teams match up Friday for the fifth time this season. The Astros lead the season series 4-0.

TOP PERFORMERS: Brent Rooker has 11 home runs, 17 walks and 32 RBI while hitting .286 for the Athletics. Max Schuemann is 12-for-35 with a double and two RBI over the past 10 games.

Kyle Tucker leads Houston with 17 home runs while slugging .638. Alex Bregman is 9-for-38 with three home runs and six RBI over the last 10 games.

LAST 10 GAMES: Athletics: 2-8, .225 batting average, 5.25 ERA, outscored by 27 runs

Astros: 7-3, .272 batting average, 3.13 ERA, outscored opponents by 20 runs

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Astros: Oliver Ortega: 60-Day IL (elbow), Bennett Sousa: 60-Day IL (shoulder), Penn Murfee: 60-Day IL (elbow), Luis Garcia: 60-Day IL (elbow), Lance McCullers Jr.: 60-Day IL (elbow), Jose Urquidy: 15-Day IL (forearm), Kendall Graveman: 60-Day IL (elbow)

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