This week’s coverage of The562 is sponsored by Long Beach Gives. Visit LongBeachGives.org to find your cause! Donations will be accepted until September 22.
The562’s coverage of Long Beach Volleyball in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Misty May-Treanor and the Dream in Gold Foundation.
The562’s coverage of Long Beach Wilson Athletics is sponsored by Joel BitonioClass of 2009.
Chloe Pravednikov didn’t follow a typical path to becoming one of Long Beach’s top women’s volleyball players this year.
The junior outside hitter didn’t grow up playing elite club volleyball while receiving scholarship offers in the mail. Instead, she sacrificed a spot on a top team to gain more experience and took it upon herself to reach out to college coaches for the opportunity to play at the next level.
All of those sacrifices have paid off as Pravednikov recently committed to Pepperdine and captains Wilson’s team as the Bruins head into a very important Moore League game tonight against Millikan. The winner will take second place in the Moore League.
“Chloe brings energy and competitiveness to every practice,” Wilson’s coach Gerald Aquiningoc said. “In addition to her physical talent, she is a leader and stays calm in high pressure situations. She is an integral part of our program and helps guide our team to be the best they can be in the league.
Pravednikov is a 6-foot-2 long outside hitter who honed her volleyball skills playing with her family mostly at local beaches. It was the close connection to sport that kept her away from practicing other sports.
“I really liked the team aspect with a smaller squad,” Pravednikov said. “There are only six players on the pitch with you. In softball and soccer, it’s a bigger team. I thought it was cool that you can bond stronger (with your teammates) when there are fewer people on the pitch with you.
Working hard to build that trust and connection with her teammates is a big part of what Pravednikov brings as a team captain along with Allanah Smith, Sydney Scott and Kate Eckenrode.
“It’s about lifting teammates,” Pravednikov said. “It’s not an individual sport and everyone has to do well. It’s telling someone that everything is fine and moving on to the next point.
Pravednikov added that the lack of connection and support is what was missing when Wilson lost to No. 1 Lakewood earlier this month. Pravednikov led the Bruins with 14 kills.
“I think we lost communication towards the end (of this game) and people were getting mad at each other, so this game (against Millikan) we’re trying to work on that and finish the sets,” said said Pravednikov. “(Last year) We were able to finish sets really well. And then we were able to build momentum on the next set. I think that’s really helpful in winning big games. Momentum is a very big party.
Pravednikov started playing club volleyball at Seal Beach when she was in sixth grade and was on the top team in her age group. After a year of trying to break through and get playing time with more experienced players, Pravednikov took a level down to work on her game through experience in different positions.
“I really feel like I improved my passing,” Pravednikov said. “I was only playing front row (but after changing teams) I was able to play all around and had a lot of good reps. I now use it at Wilson too.
Much like his brother Leo did when he played volleyball at Wilson, Pravednikov has been proactive about getting in front of college coaches over the past few years. It worked for Leo, who is now at UC San Diego, and it worked for Pravednikov, who is excited to attend Pepperdine.
But first, Pravednikov knows she must continue to grow as a leader if Wilson is to make a splash in the league title race and the upcoming playoffs.
“I’m really proud that we got second place in the league with a lot of tight games last year,” Pravednikov said. “And we hope to go further in CIF after our exit in the first round.”