CHARLESTON, S.C. - The College of Charleston athletic department has announced sand volleyball will be added as a varsity program and will begin competition in the spring of 2012
"The addition of sand volleyball will provide increased opportunities for women to compete in intercollegiate athletics at the College," Director of Athletics Joe Hull said. "I believe we will compete at a very high level. The decision to add the sport seemed natural. Our indoor volleyball team has excelled, winning the Southern Conference regular season or tournament or both in each of the last 10 seasons, and university is located in close proximity to gorgeous beaches. We hope to be very good at sand volleyball."
Women's sand volleyball was recently recognized by NCAA Division I and II schools as an emerging sport for women, effective August 2010 for Division II and August 2011 for Division I programs. Currently there are 14 teams committed to sponsoring a team for the 2012 season, six more that will most likely sponsor a team and five additional schools planning to sponsor a team in 2013.
Current volleyball Head Coach Jason Kepner will be involved in both indoor and sand volleyball, with an additional sand coach to be hired to help establish this new program.
"I am very excited about this opportunity to start a sand volleyball program for the spring of 2012 here in Charleston," Kepner said." "It is such a great game that will definitely compliment our indoor program. We have a great location for this sport and I feel it is something that we can excel in. We have already been playing in sand tournaments for the last four years, now we get a chance to do it officially within the NCAA."
The format for intercollegiate volleyball play will be similar to college tennis doubles. A sand volleyball competition will consist of five doubles teams competing in a flighted dual or tournament competition. In a dual meet, the winner would be the team winning three of the five matches while tournament play would allow for each flight to name a winner with the team championship decided by which squad collects the most combined points of the five flights. The NCAA has set a maximum of 16 dates of competition for the sand volleyball season.
The Cougars plan to play about eight competitions in their inaugural season and will try to host some matches as well as travel to Florida and some other destinations. They will be able to compete against Division I, II, III or NAIA schools.
Currently the team is in the process of constructing a facility for competition and training at the Creekside Tennis and Swim Club in Mt. Pleasant.