Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Sand | Pac-12 teams have unequal facilities, schedules, scholarships

UCLA unveils new sand facility as teams move quickly to sand-only squads

UCLA's brand-new sand facilities, in the shadows of the Hedrick Hall dormitory
Volleyblog Seattle photo
LOS ANGELES—In a city synonymous with surf and sand, beach volleyball has been a surprising challenge for UCLA.

For its first two seasons—when sand ball was still a demonstration sport—the Bruins’ home court was 6 miles west of campus, accessible only via congested surface streets. The inconvenient commute meant they had time to practice just twice a week.

Now that sand volleyball will finally hold its first NCAA Championship next spring (2016), UCLA can more than double its practice time. Last week, the Bruins premiered a brand-new on-campus facility, adjacent to the dorms. Head coach Stein Metzger spoke with Volleyblog Seattle when we visited during the facility’s grand opening:

As the NCAA launch approaches, the sand volleyball experience will vary wildly across various campuses. While Washington’s 2015 sand team will once again be composed exclusively of players on its indoor roster, all but two UCLA sand athletes are playing sand only. The situation is the same at sand powerhouses Pepperdine, USC and Florida State, where the sand and indoor rosters are almost entirely separate.

Washington is in the same situation UCLA was last season, having to split practice time between a private facility in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood and temporary courts on UW’s Denny Field. Before Jim McLaughlin left for Notre Dame, there were discussions about constructing a year-round on-campus facility for Washington. New head coach Keegan Cooke has expressed confidence that those talks will continue. Meanwhile, schools up and down the west coast are already joining UCLA with dedicated sand courts of their own.

Last season, Washington’s entire competitive season lasted just one weekend—three matches in Portland. This season is almost as spare, this time spanning just three weekends. March 21-23, the Huskies will travel to Northern California for matches against St. Mary’s, Sacramento State and Pacific. On April 4, they’ll face Oregon in Portland. The following weekend, they’ll be part of the Stanford Invitational, whose competing teams (other than UW and Stanford) have not yet been announced.

The 2015 season launches tomorrow, when UCLA travels to Cal State Northridge. On Friday, Arizona, Hawai’i and Stanford all host invitationals.

  • UCLA indoor coach Mike Sealy announced that junior Ryann Chandler—daughter of former NFL and UW quarterback Chris Chandler—has transferred to Westwood. The 5-9 setter/defensive specialist last played for Pepperdine in 2013. Junior outside hitter Jordan Anderson is also transferring to Westwood. She spent her first two seasons at West Virginia, earning All-American Honorable Mention after leading the Big 12 in kills per set.
  • Thursday morning at 7:30AM (Pacific), Washington alum and USA Olympian Courtney Thompson leads Zurich into the penultimate round of the 2015 CEV European Championships. The first of the home-and-home series opens in Istanbul, against a team featuring Thompson’s Olympic teammate Jordan Larson-Burch. Thompson’s team leads the Swiss League, and will host the World Club Championships later this Spring.
    >>Try this link to watch the match live online.<<
  • Washington alum and USA Olympian Tama Miyashiro joined her Stuttgart teammates in defeating Aachen 3-2 for the 2015 German Cup Championship. Miyashiro’s team is the second seed in the Bundesliga playoffs.

1 comment:

  1. On a normal spring year around here you'd want an indoor sand court. Maybe they can transform HedEd into a convertable sand court :-). I kind of expect this sport will die off in the Pac northwest and be a primarily southern sport like water polo


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