USC To Add Women's Sand Volleyball In 2010-11, Pending NCAA Approval

Oct. 15, 2009

LOS ANGELES -- Women's sand volleyball will be added to USC's athletic program for the 2010-2011 academic year, pending the sport's approval by the NCAA in January as an emerging sport.

As the potential 20th sport in the USC athletic department, practice would begin in the fall of 2010 with competition taking place in the spring of 2011.

'With the huge interest among female student-athletes at the high school level, we felt sand volleyball would be a worthy addition to our athletic department,' said USC athletic director Mike Garrett. 'We understand that volleyball is very appealing to young women. With the addition of sand volleyball, this will provide another opportunity for young women to be involved in sports at the collegiate level, as well as give them a chance to play professionally.'

'We believe this is a sport that will generate a lot of interest among our general student body,' said USC women's volleyball head coach Mick Haley. 'Even with the current recession that the nation is experiencing, this is a sport that schools can add at a relatively low cost to their respective departments. With the ability to market this as a fan-friendly sport similar to its professional counterpart, sand volleyball should be a sport that creates a lot of excitement on college campuses around the nation.'

USC has had a long history involving sand (or beach as it is termed in the professional ranks) volleyball. The Trojans won the 2009 Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship in April, winning the team title as Jessica Gysin and Alex Jupiter won the individual title of the top division. Current USC players Geena Urango and Zoe Garrett are rated AAA sand players, the highest level attainable by amateur players.

'I think it's great for women's volleyball in terms of getting women involved,' said Gysin. 'It's going to be beneficial for both indoor and outdoor volleyball. I think we have needed this for a long time. It will provide a great pipeline for professional beach volleyball. It allows girls to have more choices coming out of high school.'

At least 25 former USC women's players have played on the AVP Tour, including Jennifer Kessy and April Ross. Kessy and Ross have combined for more than $1 million in career earnings on the AVP and FIVB Tours, including winning the 2009 Swatch/FIVB World Beach Championship in Norway.

Former Women of Troy middle blocker Bibiana Candelas represented Mexico in beach volleyball for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.

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