For Piper Ferch, there’s nothing quite like competing at high-profile events on the sacred volleyball grounds of Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach in Southern California.
Over the summer, the 16-year-old Redmond High junior notched first place at the USA Volleyball U16 National Championship in Manhattan, third at the AVPFirst U16 National Championship in Hermosa and then returned to Washington to place first at the AVPFirst Seattle Gold Event U16 at Lake Sammamish State Park.
“It’s super amazing that I get to play a fun game with people that I enjoy playing with and in a super cool place,” said the Redmond High junior, who partnered with Samaya Morin, Ella Connor and Bailey Showalter, respectively, at the three tournaments.
After starring at outside hitter for RHS the last two seasons, Ferch isn’t playing for that squad or the Sudden Impact club team of Bellevue this fall since she’s decided to focus on her beach volleyball career, according to mom Allison and RHS head coach Mariah Hale. The Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo beach commit earned 4A KingCo second-team all-league honors last season and was RHS’s most valuable player.
She misses playing with her RHS friends and said she’ll check out some Mustang matches this season.
Ferch, who plays beach for the DaKine Volleyball Club of Seattle, committed to Cal Poly the summer after her freshman year. The 5-foot-9 player touched 10 feet last year at an assessment at club training, and also competes for RHS in the long jump, high jump and triple jump. She reached a personal record of 16-5.25 in the long jump last season and qualified for state.
Beach volleyball bounced onto Ferch’s radar about five years ago when she started playing with some of her club teammates at Alki Beach in West Seattle, Sandbox Sports in Seattle and other spots.
“It started out as fun, and it still is fun. Both indoor and beach are super complex, but beach, since there’s only two players, you have a lot more to do and lot more to take care of,” said Ferch, adding that when partners click, good things happen. Ferch and Showalter of Mount Si High staged a comeback and fed off the enthusiastic crowd to win the Seattle event.
Sometimes the calls don’t always go a team’s way, but Ferch said there’s a lesson to be learned when that occurs.
“I just try to not think about it and try to think about the next play. Sometimes it’s a little rough, but it’s really important to just move on to the next play, especially when it’s such a fast game,” she said.
Ferch acquired her jumping genes from her dad Kral, who was known for his mammoth dunks when he played basketball for Montana State University. Kral also dove into the volleyball realm and was a member of the USA Men’s National Team for the 1991 Pan American Games. Mom Allison, who hails from Santa Barbara, swam and played water polo at the University of California San Diego.
“I think she’s amazing. I think sky’s the limit,” Kral said. “She looks calm and relaxed, but you can tell she wants to win. It doesn’t come out that much, but the fire is in there.”
The Reporter asked Ferch a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into her life:
What’s your ultimate dream in your volleyball career?
I think pro just sounds awesome. If you’re good enough and you can win and get money, then you can just live off of playing the sport that you enjoy playing.
What’s something unique about yourself that somebody wouldn’t know about?
I can do the bird-call thing. I can write backwards and upside down.
What super power would you like to have?
Teleportation. That would be handy with a lot of travel.
What’s your favorite kind of music?
I listen to most genres. Basically everything except for country. Country’s fine, just not my favorite.
What’s your favorite movie of all time?
I love movies, I have a lot of favorite movies. The one that comes to mind, I love “10 Things I Hate About You.” “Inception” is cool.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the Redmond area?
I used to love Pallinos in Redmond Town Center, but they took it away. Now it’s definitely Dough Zone, it’s amazing.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
My mom gets mad at me for saying “like” all the time. When people say it… I do say it a lot, but when it’s a lot – a lot, it gets bad. It’s annoying. Mom will enjoy that.
If you could go to dinner with one person, who would that be?
Who would be cool? Emma Watson’s really cool. Ryan Reynolds is hilarious. Jake Gyllenhaal. All of them.
You’ll get a group meal.
I’ll get a group dinner, yeah.
What’s the ultimate moment during a volleyball match?
Winning. I think winning big tournaments is awesome.