Ashburn, Va. – Stone Bridge High School sophomore Peyton Yamagata has made an early verbal commitment to continue playing beach volleyball at Texas Christian University starting in the 2020-2021 school year.
“TCU was the right fit for me as it checked all of my criteria,” the 5-foot-10 Yamagata said. “TCU has a strong head coach, a strong academic program, a strong Big-12 football team, an emerging beach volleyball program and a beautiful campus.”
TCU is a private school located in the heart of Fort Worth, Texas, which grew in athletic popularity in part because of its emerging football and baseball programs. The lesser known sport of beach volleyball is beginning to gain attention at TCU as the Division I Horned Frogs have turned in back-to-back winning seasons in 2016 and 2017.
“It is my hope that I can help TCU take things to the next level by – not only getting to but – winning the NCAA championship,” Yamagata said.
But before moving to the sand full time in hopes of winning a national championship, Yamagata has a few years remaining with the indoor team at Stone Bridge.
The hottest team in Loudoun, the Lady Bulldogs have rattled off 20 consecutive wins after dropping their first match of the season to the VHSL’s finest Loudoun County Lady Raiders.
“It is so fun to be a part of the team, and we are all such great friends,” Yamagata said. “I like the intensity and hard work everyone puts into the program and our coaches push us hard every day but are also supportive and very interested in how we are doing as students and people.”
While her teammate’s at Stone Bridge have been supportive, Yamagata’s commitment to Texas Christian hasn’t come without its trials and tribulations. The undersized outside hitter continues to prove naysayers wrong through every step of her journey.
“Upon meeting me, my club coach didn’t think I was going to be athletic enough. Before I made the USAV beach volleyball team, I was told by other parents and teammates that East Coast girls don’t make the USAV team. At Stone Bridge, I’m an undersized outside hitter,” Yamagata said. “I’ve always had the courage to prove them wrong, and I want to bring that mindset to the Horned Frogs’ team.”
The Horned Frogs are just one of 55 Division I schools in the country that sport a beach volleyball program, giving student-athletes, like Yamagata, the opportunity to play the sport they love at the collegiate level.
“The feeling I get when I am on the sand makes me happy and feel special because I am playing a new, emerging sport,” Yamagata said. “I was introduced to Dulles Volleyball and I immediately loved their hybrid program which included indoor and sand volleyball. Up until this year, I played both club indoor and beach volleyball but decided to go all beach volleyball moving forward so I can take things to the next level.”