Jordan Polo

ACING a Spot at CAL


Polo not only plays beach volleyball, a large part of her life revolves around indoor as well. With her Absolute Volleyball Club team, she prepares to hit the ball.

Lauren Edelman, Online Editor

    Dreams may seem impossible to achieve, but not for everyone.  With devotion, sacrifices, and taking the initiative to make goals into a reality, they’re no farther than a small reach away.

    Junior, Jordan Polo, verbally committed to UC Berkeley’s Division I Beach Volleyball team, the college of her dreams.  

    Polo immediately fell in love with CAL six months ago when she visited the coaches and players.  She received offers from other top volleyball schools such as Arizona State University, Princeton, Saint Mary’s, and Claremont McKenna, but nothing sparked her interests as much Berkeley academically and athletically.

    “[CAL] opens the door to many opportunities,” Polo said. “I don’t think I could get into it without [volleyball].”

    Her decisions went unaffected by the drawbacks.  Even though CAL’s beach team doesn’t fund the class of 2018 with scholarships, her decision was unaffected.  However, based on the performance of the following three years, she could start earning money.  Also, she originally wanted to be as far from the Bay Area as possible and play on the East Coast, but Polo learned to accept being close to home wouldn’t be a problem.

    Yet, her voyage to becoming committed hasn’t been easy.

    Starting at eight years old, Polo began playing indoor volleyball as an outside hitter because her dad played a lot after college.  Not realizing she would commit to it, her beach career began five years ago in order to improve her indoor game.  

    Around this time, she also played basketball.  She enjoyed playing, but had to quit due to a tear in the meniscus of her knee.

    “I would probably still be playing basketball if it wasn’t for that injury!” Polo said.

    Polo proceeded to play competitively until three years after, a large announcement shocked the volleyball world.  Beach volleyball or “beach”  was official declared a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) division one sport in October 2014.

    Not only did her dad initiate her interest in the sport, but once they heard the news, he guided her through the college recruitment process.  He researched the procedure and spent a great deal of time assisting her with applications.

    “The recruiting process is very stressful,” Polo said.  “I knew I wanted to play beach volleyball in college but there are only very limited options on schools that have beach teams that I didn’t know if that was going to be possible.

    Beach and indoor volleyball differ greatly.  Beach is only played with two players, a small and a large, compared to having six players per team.  Indoor has a larger court and can only be touched three times on each side; beach can only be touched three times as well, but an initial block doesn’t count. Finally, beach can half up to five sets with the best of five, but an indoor victory must include best out of three sets.

    In 2014, Polo was the only freshman to make the varsity Monte Vista volleyball team.  Feeling somewhat like an outcast, Polo claimed she was more shy during the season than her sophomore or junior years on Varsity.  She played as an outside hitter, but is flexible with her positioning.

    “Playing beach has really developed my all-around skills which allows me to play almost any position that my team needs,” she said.

    The 2014 varsity team had won NCS for the first time in 18 years.  The streak continued as the 2015 team won NCS last year as well.

    Outside of Monte Vista, Polo plays for Absolute Volleyball Club also as an outside hitter, but sometimes will set.  On the offseason, she plays beach for Sandlegs Volleyball Club as the small.  Last year, her indoor team placed 22nd at Nationals in Indianapolis where the top 30 teams in the country competed.

    She has to practice at least once a week in Alameda, but practice locations are limited due to restrictions of the Bay Area.  Compared to Southern California, access to beaches are minimal, so training during the offseasons can create difficulties.

    During Summer, Polo is constantly occupied when the beach season begins.  She trains five days a week and travels to Southern California almost every weekend.

    The few spare moments of her life she fills with spending time with friends and working hard to achieve good grades.  Her tireless character has lead her to want to become an orthopedic surgeon (also thanks to Grey’s Anatomy!).  She believes CAL will not only help her exceed in volleyball experience, but in academics as well.

On the road to success, Polo has achieved much in the little time she’s been playing indoor and beach volleyball leading up to her dream of playing college beach volleyball by dedicating much of her life.

“Trying to balance out all the work that it takes into recruiting as well as school work and a social life was also extremely stressful,” Polo said. “But it was all worth it!”