Luke Snyder was intent on making the last semester of his high school boys volleyball career a memorable one, for a multitude of reasons.
After spending his first seven semesters of high school at Mira Costa, Snyder transferred to Redondo before the start of the boys volleyball season.
Snyder’s transfer was based on the opportunity to play for Redondo volleyball coach Kevin Norman, and run the Sea Hawks offense.
“I felt like there was more opportunity for me at Redondo,” Snyder said. “I was going to be able to start, and there was a good team around me, with me setting the offense.”
“In terms of volleyball, there’s always so much depth at Mira Costa,” Snyder said. “At Redondo, there was a handful of really good guys, and it was a big change for me coming from one of the top high school programs in California.”
Snyder, who had to sit out the first half of the regular season because of the CIF Southern Section transfer rules, had his eyes set on playing his first match with Redondo on March 31 against Mira Costa.
However, with the evolving coronavirus pandemic, the season was put on hold in mid-March and eventually was canceled April 3.
“Battling against Mira Costa was the main attraction to going to Redondo, and for that to be taken away was brutal,” Snyder said. “I didn’t expect anything like this to happen. No one did.”
Before he made the change and transferred to Redondo, Snyder had already made the decision for his future.
Having been recruited by local colleges such as USC, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, along with Penn State during his freshman and sophomore years, Snyder decided to take an official visit to Penn State in January 2019. The recollection of his visit provided a stark contrast to living in Manhattan Beach.
“It was 2 degrees, and I was wearing jeans and vans, freezing my butt off,” said Snyder, who, despite the weather, did commit to Penn State. “It’s going to take time to adjust, and I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it. It will make home look a lot better.”
The beach is high on the list of things he knows he will miss.
Snyder and his dad traveled to San Onofre to surf when the stay-at-home order was first put in place. They said they were kicked out of the water around 7 a.m.
“The whole time you were watching everything,” Snyder said. “You’re getting in trouble for doing the things you love, and it’s very unsettling. I didn’t feel like doing anything wrong.”
Manhattan Beach reopened its beaches May 13 for active recreation, and Snyder was like a kid in a candy store.
“When the L.A. County beaches opened, it was pretty quiet that morning. It was nice to see all the surfing legends that remind me of the old South Bay,” Snyder said.
While things slowly progress back to normalcy, Snyder is looking forward to fully enjoying the beach during the upcoming summer months before heading to Pennsylvania to begin his college days.
“I’m hoping the water in the mid-morning is nice, because it’s the best way to start the day,” he said.