The Huskers hit the road this week for their first sand volleyball matches.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Kick Off Inaugural Sand Season

By NU Athletic Communications
The Nebraska sand volleyball team is set to begin the 2013 season this week as they travel to southern California for a string of matches from March 14-22.

The Huskers will start the season with matches against Florida State and Pepperdine on March 14 at the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center. They will then participate in the Chula Vista Tournament on March 15-16 before heading to Long Beach, Calif., for a match with Long Beach State on March 19.

The Huskers will then travel to Irvine, Calif., for a pair of matches with UC-Irvine on March 20 and Loyola Marymount on March 21. Nebraska will head to Santa Monica, Calif., where NU will face UCLA at the Anneburg Beach House and will close out the trip at Merle Norman Stadium on the campus of USC against USC and Hawaii on March 22.

The Huskers will compete in a dual format, where the No. 1 pair from one school plays the No. 1 pair from the opposing school, No. 2 vs. No. 2 and so on and so forth. A team must win three of the five matches in order to clinch the team victory.

Sand volleyball was added at Nebraska on Jan. 9, giving the Huskers 24 intercollegiate programs, including 14 women's teams and 10 men's teams. Sand volleyball is the first sport Nebraska has added since women's rifle began competition in the 1998-99 season. 

Check for updates throughout the week on how the Huskers are doing.

Nebraska Ranked Ninth in Preseason Poll
The Nebraska sand volleyball team has been ranked ninth in the AVCA Collegiate Sand Preseason Poll released on Monday. Defending champion Pepperdine starts the year ranked first. The Huskers will face six of the top 10 teams this week.

The top ten programs, as voted on by the participating institutions:

1. Pepperdine  
2. Long Beach State
3. USC
4. Florida State
5. University of Hawaii
7. College of Charleston
8. Florida International University
9. Nebraska
10. Stanford

Projected Teams for California

The projected pairs competing in this week's matches are:

1. Kelsey Robinson and Alexa Strange
2. Hayley Thramer and Amber Rolfzen
3. Kadie Rolfzen and Morgan Broekhuis
4. Kelsey Fien and Cecilia Hall
5. Sheridan Zarda and Alicia Ostrander
Alternate: Meghan Haggerty 

Sand Volleyball FAQ

When is the Sand Volleyball season?
Sand volleyball is a spring team sport, just like softball and baseball. The Division I playing season starts the first Thursday in March and ends eight weeks later or the end of the school year, whichever comes first.

How many competitions must teams play? How many can they play?
You must play at least eight dates with three of the competitions being dual matches. The maximum number of competitions is 16 dates.

What is the format for play?
Each school will field five doubles teams ranked by ability. Each doubles team plays against the corresponding team or teams from other schools. In a dual meet, the winning team is the school winning three or five matches. Individual matches are two sets to 21, with a tie breaker set to 15 if needed. All sets are rally scoring and must be won by two points. Tournament play will still employ flights. Points are awarded based on finish in each of the five brackets and a total team score determines the winner of the event.

Will the NCAA sponsor a championship in Sand Volleyball?
When 40 institutions in DI and DII have sponsored varsity programs for two year, the NCAA will sponsor an NCAA Championships.

Where are the 2013 Sand Volleyball Championships?
Gulf Shores, Alabama will host the collegiate women's sand volleyball championships through 2015.

How many schools sponsor Sand Volleyball as a sport?
As of March 11, 2013, University of California-Long Beach, Pepperdine, University of Southern California, Hawaii, Loyola Marymount, Florida State, College of Charleston, Stetson, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida, University of Alabama-Birmingham, Tulane, Mercer, Florida Atlantic, Florida Gulf Coach University, Georgia State University, Florida International, Louisiana Monroe, Grand Canyon University (DII), Cal State-Bakersfield, Santa Clara University, University of San Francisco, Stanford, University of Pacific, St. Mary's College of California, Sacramento State, Cal-Berkeley, Nebraska, UCLA.

Will Sand Volleyball have a different coaching staff from the Court Volleyball team?
It depends on the institution. DI NCAA regulations specify that Sand Volleyball may have a maximum of two coaches and Court Volleyball may have a maximum of three coaches. The regulations do not speak to coaches being responsible for more than one sport so an athletics department could assign one or two of the current court coaches to responsibilities with the Sand VB team or they could hire new coaches to fill those positions. There are no coaching staff restrictions in DII, so again the decision rests with the institution.

How is the sport of Sand Volleyball different from Court Volleyball
Beyond the obvious differences in number of players on a side and the surface for competition, Sand volleyball is officiated much differently than Court VB. No open handed tipping is allowed and setting is called so tightly in Sand volleyball that the bump set is more popular than the overhead set. Also, the block touch counts as the first of the three allowable contacts. Another difference is that coaches may only speak to players or give them any kind of input or feedback during time-outs and between sets. Finally, to mitigate the impact of wind and sun, the players switch sides of the court every seven points in a 21 point set and every five points in a 15 point set.


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