Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Lakewood Ranch sisters capture NCAA beach volleyball titles

Ashley Pater won the DI title at USC, while Brooke Pater won the DII title at the University of Tampa.


Sisters Ashley Pater and Brooke Pater hold up Ashley's NCAA Division I beach volleyball title, which she won as a freshman at the University of Southern California. Both sisters won national championships in 2024.
Sisters Ashley Pater and Brooke Pater hold up Ashley's NCAA Division I beach volleyball title, which she won as a freshman at the University of Southern California. Both sisters won national championships in 2024.
Courtesy image
  • East County
  • Sports
  • Share

After winning an NCAA Division II beach volleyball national championship with the University of Tampa on April 14 in Taveras, Lakewood Ranch's Brooke Pater had a choice to make. 

Pater, a sophomore, had enough credit to graduate from Tampa thanks to participating in dual enrollment while at Lakewood Ranch High. She decided to do so and to enroll at Georgetown University in pursuit of a Masters degree. But on May 4, the day of her Tampa graduation, Pater's sister Ashley Pater — a freshman at the University of Southern California — was playing in the NCAA Division I beach volleyball tournament semifinals in Gulf Shores, Alabama. If USC won, the championship match would be the next day. 

Pater had to decide whether to walk across the stage, or catch a flight to Alabama to watch her sister vie for glory?

Todd Pater, Brooke Pater and Lorraine Pater pose with Brooke's NCAA Division II national championship trophy that she won with the University of Tampa.
Courtesy image

"I remember thinking, 'You know, it's not the graduation that is going to make me feel like my time at Tampa is sealed,' Pater said. "It was the national championship that was the end of the chapter, and I wanted to see Ashley get that same championship feeling." 

She got on a plane. By the end of the weekend, both Pater sisters were national champions. USC defeated UCLA 4-0. Ashley Pater teamed with graduate student Grace Seits to win their individual match 2-1. It was the Trojans' fourth-straight national championship. 

Brooke Pater has no regrets about her choice. The sisters were raised around the game and loved it so much that the Pater family installed a beach volleyball court in their backyard for convenient training. Brooke Pater said seeing Ashley's dreams come true at the highest collegiate level was an amazing experience. 

And for Ashley? 

"We were all on cloud nine," Ashley Pater said. "It was surreal. We worked so hard throughout the year, busting our butts. It does pay off. I was so proud of our team." 

Ashley Pater said she had no expectations coming into 2024. As a freshman entering a dominant program, she said, her only goal was earning a starting spot by the end of the season. 

It was not easy. Pater said that every day was a rollercoaster of emotions and that every practice felt like a opportunity to prove herself to her coaches and win their trust. Everyone being so talented, Pater said, only upped the stakes. Though competitive, the Trojans also became a close-knit group. 

"I could not have asked for a better team and better coaches to surround me," Ashley Pater said. 

Ashley Pater worked her way into the University of Southern California beach volleyball starting lineup as a freshman and helped the Trojans win a national title.
Courtesy image

Pater finished the season with a 31-4 record, including 12-1 records with both graduate student Grace Seits and sophomore Madison White as partners. 

Brooke Pater served a different role at Tampa. While she rarely found herself in the Spartans' starting lineup, she was named a team captain, a sign of respect from her coaches and teammates. Pater said she was shocked by the honor, but took the role seriously. 

"When I was not showing those physical results (in matches), I had to do other stuff to help the team," Pater said. "I was giving 110% in practice and motivating other people. It's about the little things, and they paid off." 

Brooke Pater will be leaving the game, at least at a competitive level, when she moves to Washington, D.C. to attend her master's program at Georgetown. The game, however, will not be leaving her. Pater said beach volleyball has helped her become more confident in herself and improved her social skills. She's also made several relationships through the game that she plans on keeping, she said. 

"It's the people that make it awesome," Brooke Pater said.

She will also be keeping an eye on her sister's career. Brooke Pater said she has known for a long time that Ashley was destined for big things. Pater said that while watching Ashley's championship match, all she could think about was 13-year-old Ashley practicing on the court in their backyard, hours after Brooke had gone inside to rest, working on serving or other skills by herself. 

As for Ashley Pater, she will be keeping busy. Pater said she plans on playing in a handful of professional tournament across the country to stay sharp, while also taking time off to enjoy being back in Florida for a bit. When next season rolls around, she has loftier expectations for herself. She wants to keep the starting spot she earned and help her team contend for another title, but she also wants to make inroads on becoming a captain in the future. 

Just like her sister. 

 

author

Ryan Kohn

Ryan Kohn is the sports editor for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. He was born and raised in Olney, Maryland. His biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. His strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.

Latest News