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Prep volleyball: Two make historic commits

Valencia’s Delaney Knudsen and Sierra Sanchez accept SCV’s first sand volleyball scholarship offers

Posted: September 13, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: September 13, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 

Last spring, a group of Valencia High athletes made history when they formed the Santa Clarita Valley’s first organized beach volleyball team.

Who knew the valley’s first team would feature two NCAA Division I players?

Valencia seniors Delaney Knudsen and Sierra Sanchez made verbal commitments this past summer for college sand volleyball teams.

Knudsen will play for Pepperdine University next year and Sanchez verbally committed to Florida State University.

They will be the first two players in SCV history to receive sand volleyball scholarships as universities only began offering scholarships in the sport two years ago.

“I just think that it’s awesome that we’re a valley team and we have these crazy good beach volleyball players,” Knudsen said.

Knudsen and Sanchez both play varsity indoor volleyball at Valencia also, but they spent a good deal of the offseason playing in various elite beach tournaments.

That included the first-year Valencia squad, which wasn’t technically affiliated with the school, but included many of the same players on the indoor team.

In its inaugural season, Valencia won the eight-team Southern Pacific Girls Interscholastic Beach Volleyball League, which featured Sanchez and Knudsen as the No. 1 pairing.

The two of them were later selected for USA Junior Beach High Performance A1 teams this past summer, which was right around the time the commitments were made.

Knudsen was the first to receive the offer on July 18, and Sanchez followed just a few days later when a Florida State representative approached her during a tournament.

“Why wouldn’t you want to be the first person ever to do something?” Sanchez said. “It’s really cool. It’s a great feeling.”

Sanchez didn’t officially make her commitment until early August after she visited the campus in Tallahassee, Fla.
She had to consider a few other offers from smaller schools to play indoor volleyball, but she eventually picked the one and only school to offer her a sand scholarship.

Similarly, Pepperdine was not Knudsen’s first offer.

She was also given the opportunity to play indoor ball at San Jose State, but she accepted Pepperdine’s offer on the spot.

“It was little unbelievable,” Knudsen said. “My mom was actually with me when I got my phone call and we both started crying because it was just a relief and it was an amazing feeling.”

Though Knudsen has played both indoor and outdoor volleyball since eighth grade, and excelled at both, she said the sand game is her first love.

Beyond that, she was hoping to go to college as close to home.

It all fell into place when Pepperdine called.

Both athletes can officially sign with their respective schools on National Signing Day on Nov. 14.

Until then the two returning All-Santa Clarita Valley players will play out their senior seasons on the court at Valencia.

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