International Volleyball

After 4 beach titles at USC, Delaynie Maple will play indoor volleyball at Indiana

After 4 beach titles at USC, Delaynie Maple will play indoor volleyball at Indiana

Delaynie Maple digs during the NCAA Championship/Stephen Burns photo

It’s not lost on Delaynie Maple that Indiana volleyball coach Steve Aird is a lifelong, suffering Toronto Maple Leafs fan. 

If you don’t follow hockey, think Chicago Cubs until they finally won the World Series in 2016.

“I made a joke, ‘Are you only recruiting me because my last name is Maple?’,” she said with a laugh.

Well, no, because short of winning a pro tournament, Delaynie Maple has, up to this point, done about all she can do in beach volleyball. And it might have been a while, but Maple was a pretty good high school indoor player.

She graduated Thursday from USC, where all she has on her beach volleyball resume is four NCAA titles in four years, winning almost every postseason honor imaginable. That followed a stellar Torrey Pines High School/club career.

The theoretical next step would be to go pro full time on the beach, where she already has more experience than most 21-year-olds.

But … 

She’s going to play for Aird, that aforementioned Canadian, the seventh-year head coach at Indiana.

“I’m mainly doing it this year to first get a master’s (in sports management) but also push myself in ways that I wouldn’t here,” said Maple, who committed to play beach at USC as a freshman in high school.

“I’ve been pushed incredibly at USC but it’s been comfortable in terms that I’ve known where I’m going the past seven years, I’ve known my coaches since I was 14, I’ve known every girl I’ve played with here since I was probably 12 or played against them. It was very familiar to me, which is why this experience has been so incredible at USC. It’s been the epitome of a second home.

“But I think I need to go away from home for a year and realize like I need to grateful for parents. I see them every weekend and I think I’m taking that for granted. Go somewhere in the middle of nowhere for a year where I’ve never been and test it and try a new sport.”

Delaynie Maple attacks against UCLA/Mark Rigney photo

Well, not exactly. The 5-foot-11 Maple played indoor at Torrey Pines with teammates who would move on to Division I, including Yale setter Carly Diehl and libero Bella Chan, BYU outside Sophia Callahan, Kraft, and Indiana setter Emily Fitzner, who finished her indoor career at IU and transferred to USC to play beach.

And, of course, Megan Kraft, the 6-foot jumping jack who went on to become of the greatest NCAA beach players ever and Maple’s USC…

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