It doesn’t sound like Brooke Gyori has a lot of free time.
The Clay High School junior runs cross country and plays on the Eagles’ volleyball team in the fall, plays basketball in the winter and plays outfield for the softball team in the spring.
Her summers are spent playing for and practicing with the Premier Volleyball Club, based in Maumee. Premier sends teams to play travel volleyball as well as compete in local and national tournaments.
This marks the second summer that Premier has offered two-man beach volleyball, and Gyori, 16, who has been playing indoor volleyball since she was 5, decided to give playing the sport in sand a shot back in May.
“There are a lot of different things you do (in beach volleyball), like the shots you take,” Gyori said. “You can’t do certain things. Sand (isn’t) hard, and you have to adjust. Beach volleyball will really help with my indoor game. You’re getting stronger when you’re moving around in the sand.”
Whereas indoor team volleyball consists of six players, beach volleyball is just you and one other teammate. Perhaps you’ve heard of Olympic champions Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh?
“You really have to communicate,” Gyori said. “You want to talk to each other so you don’t go for the same balls. Indoors, you know what you’re going for. Beach volleyball is really fun; I really enjoy it. I used to play down at the docks (downtown) for fun. Premier started it last year and this year I thought it would be fun.”
Premier pairs up individual club members to compete, and Gyori got paired with Abby King, 16, a student at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Mich.
“One tournament me and her were paired together and worked really well together,” Gyori said, “and they just kept pairing us together. We really got along well and communicated well and had fun. We played in a couple tournaments together, kind of towards the middle of the season in mid-June. I was surprised (at our success) a little bit, but at the same time we jelled together.”
Gyori and King teamed to take second place at a USA Midwest Regional Tournament in Mason, Ohio, then embarked on an even bigger task late last month. They competed in the USA Junior Beach Tour Championships in Milwaukee on July 27-28 and came home with second place medals in the 16 Club gold bracket.
“I thought we had a really good chance,” Gyori said. “We started off a little rough the the first day and then we got into it. The first day, we weren’t winning by a lot. By the second day, in the morning, we really started beating up on these teams.”
In the finals, Gyori and King won the first game, 21-13, but they weren’t able to close out the match.
“The second game the other team started to get better ball control and we had to move around our shots,” Gyori said. “They were ahead by about 10 points and we started coming back, but it was already too late. We lost that one and we lost the third game. I was happy with what we got. We worked for that. I never even thought we would come this far.”
Gyori said the tournament in Mason helped her and King prepare for the big tournament in Wisconsin the following week.
“It was a pretty big tournament, like 40 teams there,” Gyori said. “We got to see and try new things, like blocking. We worked on our weaknesses.”
She added that playing beach volleyball will be an asset when she takes the court indoors this fall for the Eagles.
“I think it’s going to help me,” Gyori said. “My communication is a lot better. Indoors, I’m more quiet and now I’m getting louder and I have more energy. I’ll probably (play beach volleyball) the next two years. It’s really fun and you get to meet new people.”