SPRING HILL — There is no beach in this Pasco County community, but that doesn’t mean it can’t become the center of beach volleyball in Florida.Just off Highway 52, a few miles down Hays Road and past a large cow pasture, sits Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High. The school has all the normal outdoor facilities, football and baseball fields and practice fields. It also had several acres of open space on the south side of the campus. Volleyball coach Doug Chinchar had an idea. Why not use some of that land to build 10 regulation-size beach volleyball courts? “It all started with me and a friend of mine drawing it up on a napkin,” Chinchar said. “It looked a lot smaller on the napkin.”That paper concept took shape by April 2017. Crews dug a 3-foot square and sand was trucked in to fill it. It cost $120,000 to get enough sand for 10 courts.“We got the best sand money can buy,” Chinchar said. “The sand is better than Clearwater Beach.”Completed by the summer of 2017, the Beach at Bishop has showers, palm trees, picnic tables and viewing areas on all four sides. A faux beach in the middle of Pasco County. Not only does it host the school’s sand volleyball team, but it will also host AAU and AVP tournaments. “People would hear we’re having a beach tournament and they ask if we’re having it on grass,” Chinchar said. “Then they come out and one person said it was like Field of Dreams.”Beach volleyball is not a new sport. But it is starting to gain traction at the high school level. Bishop McLaughlin currently plays in the Sunshine State Athletic Conference, which has Class A and AA divisions. Most of the area schools are in Class A. Private schools Bishop McLaughlin, Carrollwood Day, Seffner Christian, Cambridge Christian, Bell Creek Academy, Indian Rocks Christian, Clearwater Central Catholic, Calvary Christian, St. Petersburg Catholic and Keswick Christian all have teams. In Class 2A, East Lake and Tarpon Springs are the only local teams. Bishop McLaughlin, IRC and Carrollwood Day qualified for Friday’s state final at Hickory Point Beach Park in Tavares. The Florida High School Athletic Association, the largest organization for high school athletics in the state, does not offer beach volleyball as a varsity sport. There was a meeting with athletic directors in January, where beach volleyball was on the agenda. But a decision was made to shelve the idea of adding it as a varsity sport until they meet in two years.The popularity can be linked to the growth of college beach volleyball. College beach volleyball began in 2012 with just 15 Division I schools. In 2016 it started holding a national championship. Florida State has been national runners-up in two of the first three years.By 2018 there were 64 Division I schools playing beach volleyball. There is also beach volleyball at the Division II and NAIA levels, which includes Tampa, Eckerd College and Saint Leo. Tampa won the Division II national championship Sunday. With scholarship money available, it has given more high school volleyball players incentive to focus on the sport.Grace Bergeron plays both indoor and beach volleyball for Indian Rocks Christian. She will play beach volleyball at NAIA Warner University in Lake Wales in the fall. “It’s a lot more forgiving playing in the sand,” Bergeron said. “And, I’m a shorter player but out here I get to do a little bit of everything. I don’t get to do that indoors. It’s so much more of a mental game.”Bishop McLaughlin, which has one of the top teams in the state, also has one of the top players in the state. Sophomore Audrey Koenig recently de-commited from Wake Forest. She has several other Division I offers but has not yet committed. She said she would like to play both indoor and beach volleyball in college. “I think beach reveals your game all around a bit more,” Koenig said. “You have to pass, you have to hit. You have to be a more all-around player.“I like indoor better but I do enjoy playing beach. It’s fun to play in the summer. It’s kind of casual.”One setback is the lack of venues. It takes at least three courts to host a dual match. There are three teams of two players. The winner must take two of three matches.Bishop McLaughlin can host several teams. And in the future, it hopes to add eight courts as well as two stadium courts.There are four courts at Bay Head Park in Largo. And Indian Rocks Christian has four. None of the public schools in the area have sand volleyball courts. One of the subjects brought up in the FHSAA meeting was the possibility of using beaches for tournaments. With interest rising, it may only be a matter of time before it becomes the next sanctioned varsity sport. “We’re hopeful; it gives the girls more opportunities,” said PHU coach Dexter Rogers, who has played and coached both indoor and beach volleyball. “They’ve had it in California for years. We’ll see. I don’t care if they play club or beach, as long as they are playing. Beach allows them to get so much better.” Contact Rodney Page at email@example.com . Follow @RodneyHomeTeam.