Beach volleyball coming to Pacheco Park

Beach volleyball coming to Pacheco Park

Kyle Alves, a senior at North Smithfield High School, and Parks and Recreation Program Coordinator Kate Pasquariello stand on the area that will soon be home to a beach volleyball court at Pacheco Park. Alves is fundraising and building the court for his senior project. Pasquariello is serving as his mentor for the project. (Breeze photo by Lauren Clem)

NORTH SMITHFIELD – This time next year, local players will be setting and spiking on their own beach volleyball court at Pacheco Park thanks to a project by North Smithfield High School senior Kyle Alves.

Alves, who plays on the school’s varsity boys’ volleyball team, is fundraising and building the court as his senior project, a graduation requirement for all NSHS students. He described the project to The Valley Breeze last week, explaining the court will fill in a needed gap in town. While beach volleyball has become a hit among students and residents, partly due to the popularity of leagues at Gator’s Pub, there’s not currently anywhere for families to play for free or young people to practice their skills before they get to high school. Gator’s sets a minimum age limit of 16 for its leagues, said Alves, and out-of-town club teams can be expensive.

“That’s very expensive, not everyone can afford that, so that sort of gives everyone an opportunity to play before high school,” he said.

Except for gym class, Alves said he had never played volleyball before joining the varsity team as a freshman. Now, he plays twice a week at Gator’s and played last year for Blast Volleyball, a youth organization based in East Providence. Next year, he hopes to play for a college team. And he’s not the only one discovering the sport. The high school team has grown since freshman year, he said, with the number of players from his grade doubling from three to six. Last year, they made it to the state semi-finals.

“I think if I played volleyball before high school, I would’ve been able to enjoy it and get better,” he said.

The project is making good progress, with Alves receiving the blessing of the Town Council on Sept. 16, but he’ll need help to see it through to completion. He estimates the court will cost approximately $6,000 to install, with much of that going toward sand and fencing. He’s reached out to local businesses to look for sponsorships and will hold his first fundraiser, a spikeball tournament, this Saturday, Oct. 5, at the high school turf field at 9 a.m. Two-person teams can contact him at 401-636-9227 to register for $20 per team.

He already has one important supporter on board. His stepfather, Raymond Pendergast, serves as the town’s director of public works and is helping with the project logistics. The area targeted for the new volleyball court is located next to the basketball courts. The fenced area was once home to a tennis court, but is now a vacant stretch of pavement used for overflow parking.

“Our goal before the winter is just (to) kind of get all the concrete up and put the poles in,” said Alves.

The whole project, he said, should be complete by next April or May, in time for summer volleyball season. Kate Pasquariello, the town’s parks and recreation program coordinator and his mentor for the project, said she’s looking into running a youth volleyball league once the court is complete. When it’s not in use for leagues, the court will be open to the public during regular park hours.