IN THE BACK ROW: Q&A with Marielle Bagnard

How long have you been playing volleyball and when did you decide to start playing?
I started at Sunshine [indoor volleyball club] and I was maybe 9 or 10 years old. I started playing because it was in my family, the sport was in my family, and my dad kind of inspired me to play with his passion.

What made you decide to pursue sand volleyball?
First of all I love the beach, but second of all I really like the challenge.  In sand volleyball you need to be more of a well-rounded player, and that kind of forced me to learn every position to the best of my ability.

How do you train for sand volleyball outside of school and what is the commitment like?
It is nice because with Harvard Westlake and with any club sport, it’s a big drive, but since I live in the Palisades the beach is literally right down my street so that makes it really accessible to train. I’d say it’s about the same if not more in terms of practice for indoor and club. It’d be more similar to school where you want to do it every day because it’s really important to practice in different wind situations. Weight lifting still comes into play because it is a lot harder to jump and to move in the sand and that being said you need to condition a lot more. People condition a lot for indoor, but sand definitely makes things harder.

What school did you commit to, and what separated that school from your other options?
I committed to University of Southern California, and I am going there for sand volleyball. I really liked it because first of all I knew when applying to schools I wanted some place warm. I actually did a bunch of indoor volleyball camps over the summer and I just realized that I didn’t really like the indoor game as much as I liked the beach game and I just couldn’t really see myself making that big of a commitment for indoor even though I like it. I just like beach so much more and I know that I would be way more in to practicing that many times a week, or doing the weightlifting for that sport because I like being on the beach more.

What are your individual and team goals for your last season with your Harvard-Westlake team?
Hands down, I want to win CIF. That better happen. We kind of assumed that we were going to do that last year, and that ended up being a challenge for us, but I doubt it will be a challenge for this team this year. I want to make it as far as we can, so that would mean CIF and State. My sister has a banner up there on the wall in Taper, and I am constantly asked is that my relative, but I’d rather it be is that you, with my name up there on one of the banners.  I think in the long term that would be a goal. As a team I just really want to have fun, this is my last indoor season. I really like this group of girls, and I think we have the potential to go really far and we really click, and I think that we definitely can do it.

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