Randy Angel

Mira Costa’s girls IBVL program continues to dominate on the sand

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Sophomore Maya Harvey passes to teammate Piper Monk-Heidrich during Mira Costa’s Interscholastic Beach Volleyball League victory against Palisades. Photo by Kat Monk

by Randy Angel

It is uncommon for an elite athlete in any professional sport to become an equally successful coach, particularly at the high school level.

But for Manhattan Beach native and former beach volleyball standout Eric Fonoimoana, his coaching of the next generation of standouts has been even more impressive.

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A gold medal winner in the 2000 Olympic Games, Fonoimoana captured four AVP titles in 2002 earning him MVP honors. He played professionally for more than 18 years, winning at least one tournament every year from 1998 and 2004.

Now, he is passing on his knowledge of the game to the girls of Mira Costa who compete in the Interscholastic Beach Volleyball League (IBVL). Over the last six years, his teams have won 81 consecutive matches — a record that would be hard to replicate in any sport.

“The streak is a culmination of great beach players and their desire to be the best,” Fonoimoana said. “The girls train hard at practice. I enjoy training them so when they compete they are  confident in their ability to win every match they play. It’s been a fun ride but we have a few more goals to achieve this season before we are done — the IBVL Champions and State Champions.”

The Mustangs begin their Southern Pacific playoff run for another IBVL title Monday and Wednesday at the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica. Action continues at Dockweiler Beach on Friday, May 11 with the final eight teams competing for the championship on Saturday, May 12 at North Beach (Santa Monica).

Top teams will compete in the California State IBVL playoffs on Saturday, May 19 at Dockweiler.

On Saturday, the Pairs Tournament will be held at Dockweiler featuring many of the league’s top players.

This season’s Mustang squad is led by senior Piper Monk-Heidrich, a UCLA commit who serves as team captain. She has been partnering with sophomore Maya Harvey, whom Monk-Heidrich believes will be her partner for Saturday’s Pairs Championships.

“There’s is a lot of pressure when you have a streak that long but I’ve had a lot of confidence in my team this season and we all worked hard and the streak is still alive, so I’m super proud of all the girls,” Monk-Heidrich said. “It’s Eric’s decision so we’ll see who I’ll be with this Saturday.

Mostly likely whomever I play with in the Pairs Tournament will be whom I play with in IBVL. Maya and I have been playing really well together so I am hoping that we’ll be partners. We’re friends off the court, which helps us understand each other better on the court. She’s a great player and even though she’s young, I can see her going far in the volleyball world.”

Mira Costa’s team also includes seniors Georgia Kobel, Karina Myszkowski, Lily Snyder and Lea Ungar. They are joined by sophomores Olivia Bakos and Kate Reilly.

The Mustangs are coming off an impressive victory against Palisades Charter with wins by Team No. 1 (Harvey/Monk-Heidrich) 21-16, 21-14, Team No. 2 (Kobel/Reilly) 21-13, 21-17 and Team No. 3 (Bridgette Chalmers/Myszkowski) 21-6, 21-7.

For more information, visit ibvl.org.

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