Grandy wins national beach volleyball title


Senior Kylie Grandy seen here in action with the school volleyball team. This summer Grandy won a national title for beach volleyball. Grandy plans to attend Southern Mississippi University.

Sand-filled shoes and wind-blown hair are staples of summertime. These trademarks of summer have made their way into all seasons due to the recent emergence of beach volleyball in the Triangle Area.

Two Triangle area teens, Kylie Grandy and Genna Simpkins, won the USAV Beach Nationals u16 volleyball championship this past summer. The team travelled to Milwaukee, Wis. to compete against other beach volleyball teams from around the country.

Grandy is a senior at Wake Forest High School. She has played on the varsity volleyball team for her entire high school career.

Varsity Volleyball Coach Love had nothing but positive words to say about Grandy as a player and as a person.

“She is hardworking, honest and humble. You would never know she has achieved the level of success playing volleyball if you had just met her. As an athlete she is incredibly strong for her size and just plays really hard,” Love said.

Having played both at a high level, Grandy is in a position to characterize both sports.

“I don’t really prefer one over the other. There are positive and negatives to both, but the independence in beach volleyball gives you the opportunity to play all positions and experience different parts of the game,” Grandy said.

Love thinks that playing beach has helped Grandy have more understanding of how to work through something individually. Since it is played with two people instead of six, players have to be more demanding of themselves, and they must be involved in each play.

Grandy said that playing beach volleyball has helped her to learn new skills and to improve on others. Running in the sand helps her gain strength and speed so that it is easier to move on the court. She said that playing beach volleyball has also helped to improve her shot power.

“Since there are only two players, your placement of the ball is very important,” Grandy said.

She said that the accuracy she gains from playing beach volleyball is a skill she values during the high school season.

“I think playing beach gives players a chance to play not only against the better players in the Triangle area, but the state and nation as well,” Love said about players that play beach volleyball throughout the year.

Another key point of beach volleyball, according to Grandy, is the ability to encourage your teammate. She said that they both must be able to keep a positive attitude in order to play well.

“We use encouraging words like ‘You got the next ball!’ but it also has a lot to do with our attitudes toward each other,” Grandy said. “Since we’ve been playing together for so long, we know how to lift each other’s spirits during tough matches.”

Grandy explained that it took a lot of practice and tournaments in order to reach the level that she and Simpkins are at. She would sometimes have to travel across the country, to California, in order to play a wider variety of competitors.

They played in the same national tournament last year and took fifth place.

Instead of admitting their defeat, the team practiced hard and gave the national tournament one last try this summer. Grandy said that they felt as if they had come too far to not try for the title again this year.

Love said that most of the girls on the team have been very cooperative with everything he has tried to do on the team this year. Grandy is one of his stand-out player on the team.

“As a senior and a co-captain, she has allowed me to ask a lot of questions,” Love said. “Kylie has been very supportive in helping me learn what things have worked in the past and what we could do better.”