Satellite, Merritt Island To Meet in Brevard’s First Ever High School Beach Volleyball Match
By Alan Zlotorzynski, Senior Editor // March 21, 2018
SPACE COAST DAILY TV SPECIAL PRESENTATION
BREVARD COUNTY • SATELLITE BEACH, FLORIDA– One has to wonder what Satellite Scorpion varsity volleyball coach Darren Bolton will be thinking when the Scorpions face the Merrit Island Mustangs in Brevard County’s first high school beach volleyball match at the Cocoa Beach Pier Wednesday at 5 p.m.
Space Coast Daily TV will provide live coverage of this historic match between the Scorpions and Mustangs from the Cocoa Beach Pier, with Alan Zlotorzynski providing the play-by-play and Connie Denaburg and Bolton providing their expert commentary and analysis.
History isn’t made easily and if anyone knows this, it’s coach Bolton.
Even though Bolton just finished his third season as the Scorpions head coach on the indoor court, he’s been an integral part of Space Coast volleyball for years.
He has dedicated a lot of time to the to the Cape Coast Volleyball Club, where he has been coaching since 2005 and has served on the Board of Directors since 2007.
Off the sand, Bolton has led the Scorpions to a better record each season since he arrived in 2015.
Satellite High volleyball was 7-14 in 2015, 8-8 in 2016 and 12-5 this past season. Bolton also coached volleyball at Rockledge High School, where he coached the JV team for three years and varsity for five where he made it past Districts, and into Regionals.
In 2010 his Rockledge Raiders were Cape Coast Conference Champs.
Bolton has been the Beach Director from the inception of the Cape Coast Volleyball Club in the summer of 2006 and his indoor success with his high school teams only fueled his fire to see the sport played on a surface that seemed like a natural on the Space Coast, the beach.
With the blessing of 2018 Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame inductee and Club Director, Connie Denaburg, Bolton expanded the club by taking it to the sand with 2-person Juniors Beach Volleyball. And that’s where the idea was born to play sanctioned high school beach volleyball.
With plenty of players and schools wanting to play outdoors in the sand, Bolton tried to get the sport sanctioned as an official high school sport. Tried and trying is actually understating what Bolton did for 10-years, but sanctioning associations didn’t cooperate.
One “no” was met with another “no” and then once coach Bolton heard “yes” the hurdles that needed to be climbed were worse than hearing “no” at times. Doors were shut, slammed, and then slightly opened and then closed again.
The reasons varied but ultimately Bolton didn’t give up. Aside from his burning desire to see this through, Bolton had one thing on his side, the popularity of the outdoor version of volleyball.
Beach volleyball has exploded over the last few years. Along with the growth in juniors, the sport has grown tremendously in the college ranks.
There is 54 Division I schools offering scholarships for beach volleyball and competing for a National Championship.
Beach Volleyball made the quickest transition from an emerging sport to a championship sport in NCAA history.
It’s also the fastest-growing NCAA sport over the last five years in Division I, and last year in Brevard County, teams from seven different high schools competed in a club league sponsored by the Cape Coast Volleyball Club.
Last year coach Bolton saw part of his dream realized as the Sunshine State Athletic Conference and the Florida Region of USA Volleyball partnered to initiate the first official girl’s high school sanctioned beach volleyball league in Florida.
Ironically, after 10-years, time wasn’t on Bolton’s side as one of those hurdles prevented him from getting necessary signatures by the time the inaugural season started.
He’d have to wait until this year and watched as Calvary Christian from Ft. Lauderdale claimed the first state title.
Finally and with a lot of help from Bill Macheras, Assistant Director for Student Activities, Satellite and Merrit Island are now members of the Sunshine State Athletic Conference in the Atlantic-Southeast Division, along with Vero Beach.
Both Satellite and Merritt Island will be hoping to make it to the high school state championships on April 14 in Tavares. In 2017 there were 24 schools in the SSAC, and this year there are 39 schools participating.
“I hope this is just the start of high school beach volleyball in Brevard County,” said Bolton. “I hope in the near future we will have more schools participating and a sand facility to host a variety of beach volleyball events.”
Coverage starts Wednesday at 4:45 p.m. on Space Coast Daily TV and is sponsored by Victory Kid Sports, Prestige Title of Brevard, PT Professionals in Viera and Palm Bay, Merrit Island Foot and Ankle and Total Home Roofing.
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