TWIN FALLS – Kennedi Evans and Whitney Solosabal had never played beach volleyball together. Solosabal had never played beach volleyball at all.
The two Twin Falls High School seniors-to-be joined to play this summer, and have found the experience to be both difficult and rewarding.
“It’s different, but it’s still a lot of fun. Only two people cover the court, and you can’t set the ball like you can in indoor. It’s a lot harder to play in the sand. But it’ll definitely help with controlling the ball,” Solosabal.
In early June, the duo finished third at a tournament in Salt Lake City, their first tournament together. The next tournament, they took home first place. On July 21, they’ll play in a tournament in Long Beach, California, then will play in one more Salt Lake City tournament in early August.
In addition to adventuring onto a new volleyball surface, the two Bruins also landed at their respective “dream schools” before even beginning their senior years. Evans, the Great Basin Conference volleyball player of the year last fall, committed to the University of Utah, and Solosabal, a first-team all-conference selection, committed to play at Utah State.
Evans’ parents have been Utes fans for as long as she can remember, and Solosabal’s attended Utah State.
“As soon as I started playing volleyball, I knew I wanted to play in college. I didn’t know I would play Division I at first. But as soon as I realized I could, Utah was the perfect fit for me,” Evans said.
Solosabal will walk on her freshman year with the Aggies, but hopes to convert to a scholarship player for the following three.
Evans has also found success on the indoor court this summer. She joined the 17U Idaho Crush, a Nampa-based club volleyball team. The club director’s daughter plays for Skyview, so she saw Evans at the 4A state tournament in Idaho Falls last October and was intrigued.
With Evans on board, the Crush became the first Idaho team ever to receive an open bid in the highest division to USA volleyball nationals in Minneapolis. The Crush were ranked as high as fifth in the nation this year, and finished 10th at nationals last weekend.
“The competition level has been really high,” Evans said. “I was looking for something like that, so it’s been a pretty cool experience.”