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Calhoun's Maldonado stars in beach volleyball


Ella Maldonado did some serious work on the beach in July. As the temperature ramped up, so did her volleyball game.

The rising sophomore at Calhoun High School earned a silver medal at the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) Summer Beach Junior Nationals in Atlantic City, N.J. on July 28-30, less than two weeks after bringing home gold from an AVP event in Rhode Island.

Maldonado, a setter and defensive specialist who already has two years of high school varsity experience, teamed with Reece Bernard of Kings Park and won 17 of 24 sets — 21 points is needed to win a set — over three days to capture silver (U14s) at the Junior Nationals in Atlantic City.

Earlier last month, on July 19, Maldonado partnered with Emilia Burns of Mineola and enjoyed a perfect run to the top at the Rox sponsored AVP America Junior Beach Tournament/East Coast Championship Qualifier in Westerly, R.I. They won all 14 sets (to 28 points) in the one-day marathon of action in the U14s division. By winning, they earned a bid to the Northeast Championship to be held Thanksgiving weekend in Clearwater, FL.

Maldonado’s coach, Paolo Castro, who owns and operates Atlantic Volleyball Academy, said her versatility stands out in the two-on-two beach game. “Ella’s a very strong athlete,” Castro said. “She loves volleyball and takes it very seriously. She can pass, hit, serve and defend. She brings a complete game.”