HBU Beach Volleyball Anxious to Compete for Southland’s Inaugural Championship
By Russ Reneau
HBU won each of the two Southland Showcase titles (2018 & 2019), the unofficial end-of-season tournaments pitting the Southland member institutions that sponsor beach volleyball. Last fall, the Southland Conference announced it would officially be adding beach volleyball as a sport and holding its first championship tournament this spring.
Senior Tori Hinojosa and the HBU squad are looking forward to the opportunity to compete for the league’s first official title.
“I am definitely excited to have an official conference tournament,” Hinojosa said. “It’s something we’ve been talking about since we got here. We have kind of made a statement of being the top team in the conference, so it would be really cool to finally get a ring. We’ve won twice, so we have plaques, which is awesome, but it’s not the same as a ring.”
The San Antonio native played at the No. 2 position as a freshman and sophomore with Kayla Armer, then teamed up with then-senior Aeriel Horton as the Huskies’ top pair in 2019. She has an impressive .690 winning percentage for her career, going 58-26 overall, including 17-6 with Horton last year, but she will again be adjusting to a new partner in her final season.
“It’s different from year-to-year and (head coach) Cameron (Sitler) has the final say on who plays with who. It’s a lot about chemistry and the style of play that matches with yours,” Hinojosa said. “By the end of the year, we figure it out and work through it; sometimes pairings change, we just try and fit the best puzzle pieces together that we can.”
Even though she is one of only two seniors, along with Danielle Wheeler, Hinojosa doesn’t allow too much of the leadership burden to fall on any one person’s shoulders.
“The way beach works, it’s so much about the team, so I do my best to add and contribute my point. But we all have to work together and contribute those three points (to win). If we only get two, that’s it,” Hinojosa said. “We’re well-built and better than we ever have been, so I’m looking forward to this year across the board.”
The 2020 Southland Conference Beach Volleyball Tournament will be held April 16-18 in Corpus Christi, Texas.