Boeve signs with Mercer to play beach volleyball

Duncan MacLean • Apr 12, 2018 at 11:51 PM

Grand Haven senior Olivia Boeve departed from tradition when she signed her national letter of intent Thursday as she officially joined the ranks of the Mercer University volleyball program. Joining an NCAA Division I program is special enough, but that isn’t what makes Boeve’s decision unique.

Boeve is headed to the beach.

Grand Haven’s team leader in kills last season will compete for the Bears beach volleyball team next spring while entertaining the possibility of joining the indoor squad in the future.

“My parents grew up playing beach volleyball, so I’ve always been around the sport. I just love the atmosphere,” Boeve said. “Ever since I started playing competitively, I fell in love with the sport and decided it was something I wanted to pursue collegiately.

“The atmosphere at Mercer is great, and I love the community that their coaching staff has built. I’m excited to continue my career with them. I plan on playing both indoor and outdoor hopefully in the next few years, but if not, I’m happy with the decision I’ve made.”

Beach volleyball ups the ante for the individual with just two players on the court, fielding the ball in strictly alternating fashion, making it a great place for a historically great Buccaneer to show off her skills.

“She made it up to fourth all-time in aces, top 10 in career kills, she is definitely one of the most successful players to come through the program,” said Grand Haven head volleyball coach Aaron Smaka. “She will be the first to go into the beach game.”

“The rules are a little bit different and only having two people on the court requires a lot more communication,” Boeve said of the beach game. “You have to be mentally focused because if your partner plays the ball, you have to play the next one. It is a lot of hard work and mental focus.”

Boeve led the Bucs as a three-year varsity player, rounding out her well-decorated career at fourth all-time in kills and aces with 11,000 terminated points and 200 perfect serves. The statistical greatness led to three district titles during her time on varsity, All-Conference and All-State honors and a special place in the history of the program.

“I learned a lot here in the program under coach Smaka,” Boeve said. “He taught me a lot about hard work and pursuing the ball and never giving up and he taught me how to believe in myself. That is something I will never forget.

“Growing up in Grand Haven with access to beach courts definitely helped me, also. I can basically play there all the time during the summer and can be out there every day. It is so nice to have access to that community.”

The Bears compete in the Southern Conference against the likes of The Citadel and Furman. Their beach program was founded in 2012 and posted their first winning season in 2017 at 15-12, (7-3 SOCON) earning their first postseason bid, where they finished 1-2.

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