Saturday Aug 22 2009
Foothills pair hook up on the AVP Tour
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
Diane Pascua was almost ready to take out a classified ad to find a playing partner after a handful of events on the AVP Tour this summer. As it turned out, the perfect fit was sitting in her San Diego apartment. The Bear River High graduate has teamed up with Angela Lewis, a Placer High grad, and the two have turned in some impressive results on the beach volleyball circuit in just a few short weeks together. “We knew we had good chemistry together, regardless of how we matched up physically,” said Pascua after she and Lewis took ninth at the Muskegon Open in Michigan Saturday. “We’ve both played (beach volleyball) for five or six years now so we’re both smarter players. It was convenient and it’s been a really good thing.” Pascua met Lewis briefly when they were both standouts on their respective area club teams in the mid-1990s. The two also crossed paths when Lewis made a recruiting visit to Gonzaga, where Pascua played from 1995 through ‘98. Lewis wound up playing at Sacramento State. The two ran into each other on the beach in San Diego and eventually started their beach volleyball careers as playing partners before heading their separate ways after two seasons. Pascua spent the past two years playing overseas, but returned to the AVP Tour this season. She and Lewis became roommates earlier this year, but didn’t think they would be teammates anytime soon. “I started the year with no points, so I was playing with a bunch of different people, trying to find something that worked,” Pascua said. “We were both doing pretty average and one random night we were having a conversation and she said, ‘Do you want to play together?’” After one practice together, Pascua and Lewis played in the Manhattan Beach Open in July, where they placed ninth out of 64 teams in the main draw. The next week at Hermosa Beach they took 13th despite battling illness all week. At the San Francisco Open just last week Pascua and Lewis again finished 13th, falling to eventual champions Jennifer Kessy and April Ross in the second round of the winner’s bracket. The pairing is somewhat unconventional as both players are of average size. Beach volleyball teams often have one player who prefers playing at the net and one more defensive specialist, ala Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh. But Pascua and Lewis have had success playing off each other and sharing the offensive and defensive roles. “We both have to step up and be defenders and blockers,” Pascua said. “There are certain times she’s huge at the net and certain times I’m at the net. So we either switch off or if one of us is on a hot streak, we’ll just stick with it.” The two foothills products will need a breakthrough result next week in Chicago to make the season-ending Tournament of Champions in Ohio. After that they’ll return to their “normal” jobs. Pascua is an assistant volleyball coach at El Costa Canyon High while Lewis is a self-employed graphic designer. Both players are excited about the prospects for next season after realizing they made a pretty good team. “A lot of teams have played together for awhile and they’re as good as they’re going to get,” Pascua said. “Right now we’re winning the matches we should and losing the matches we should, but I think we can get even better.” Todd Mordhorst’s column runs Sundays in the Journal.