Guam’s rising beach volleyball star duo get the chance to play against some of the nation’s best young beach volleyball players later this month.
Kristen Serrano and Sadie Gutierrez will play beach volleyball during the West Coast Amateur Athletic Federation’s Junior Olympic Games, scheduled for July 25-26 in Hermosa Beach, California . The event featured men’s and women’s teams from 12U to 18U. Both Guam representatives are 18 years old.
“I’m excited, we’re both very excited,” said Serrano, who recently represented Guam at the Pacific Mini Games in the Northern Mariana Islands. “We’ve been training together for about two weeks and in that short amount of time we’ve created a chemistry and in terms of communication, which is very good.”
Gutierrez, about 5 foot-6 tall, recently graduated from Our Lady of Guam Institute. Serrano, a lanky, 5-foot-10 left-hander, one grade ahead but a month younger, graduated from the Academy last year. The two played indoor volleyball together for three years.
This will be Serrano’s second international tournament in as many months, and Gutierrez’s first. The women’s national team coach Manny Guarin has high expectations for the duo.
“Every new partnership comes with a different set of compatible dynamics. “Kristen has been playing with a veteran for the past six months where she had to play a supporting role,” Guarin said.
“Sadie just started playing at the beach this year. Kris now has much greater leadership and offensive responsibilities. The team works hard, accepts new concepts and strategies with ease, knows what it takes to win and they really love the sport.”
The event was the culmination of numerous qualifying tournaments held across the country leading up to the tournament.
Guarin said that the Amateur Sports Federation, the organizer of the event, gave Guam an automatic bid because they did not have a region to qualify for and also because the duo were representing Guam as a team member. National team.
He added that there are 19 teams registered in the women’s U18 tournament so far.
Serrano is a dominant offensive player who can see the entire court at the peak of her jump. She has also developed the soft touch needed to launch short shots and short corner cuts that can nullify defenses waiting for a strong hit.
As a left-hander playing on the right flank, Serrano also has the advantage of being able to pick any position on the field and hit with power.
Although new to the sport, Gutierrez excels at the most important aspect of the game: passing.
She has developed a range of offensive shots that she will have to take as she expects to get most of the serve. The general strategy in beach volleyball is to serve the lower player.
Gutierrez is also skilled at taking the lead when fouling by passing the ball to a position where her teammates can get the ball early.
“Sadie is a great passer. She’s there every time I come back,” Serrano said.
“And I love her hustle. She is always there. Because I block, she basically has to cover the entire field and she runs the ball down just to touch it. She knows that while she can’t always pick it up, if she touches it, she knows she can get there next time. I believe in her, and that motivates me even more.”
Guarin says the league is also an ideal location for college coaches to recruit players for their indoor and beach programs.
The tournament cost just under $10,000 and the trip was made with the support of family and friends. Guarin is paying his own way.
“I just want to thank everyone who continues to support the team and cheer us on. We do our best to represent and make Guam proud,” Guarin said. “And I also want to thank PDN for always giving special attention to beach volleyball.”