CCU notebook: Sand volleyball may be wave of future


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Coastal Carolina's volleyball team is winding down its offseason program by transitioning to the outdoor game. That's something the Chanticleers could soon be doing every spring.

Coach Kristen Bauer spent the final two weeks of their 2008 spring season practicing on grass. This year, the Chants will spend the final two weeks playing sand volleyball in preparation for a tournament they'll host on April 19.

Bauer believes the time her players spend in the sand will have positive physical impacts on them next fall, but she was also thinking about the possible addition of sand volleyball to the NCAA's list of sanctioned sports when she decided to spend the final two weeks in the sand.

 "I think going in the sand, we'll be working more balance and quickness and on our verticals [jump]," she said. "I think those things really help reaction time and learning where the ball will be hit, because it's more placing balls than hard-driven balls. That's all going to play a part in us being better at reading where the ball is going to go."

Sand volleyball has gained momentum across the country as a potential addition to the list of sanctioned sports. According to research, the sport has grown by 35 percent since 2006, easily eclipsing the 2.3 percent growth for indoor volleyball.

"Should that happen, we want to be a team that's qualified to do it," Bauer said of the potential addition of the sand game. "It will pose new challenges, but we want to be ready. I think people will come to Coastal Carolina thinking that this is a great spot for indoor and outdoor having the beach here."

At the moment, however, Bauer is focused on the indoor game. Her team was allowed to play four events this spring, but the beach tournament - which will be played at Ocean Annie's and includes Charlotte, UNC-Wilmington and Winthrop - will be only their second.

The Chants, who lost two seniors after last fall, pulled out of one tournament due to injuries. Outside hitters Amanda Russell (knee surgery) and Chelsy Kimes (ankle sprain) have been limited, leaving a small group to help pick up the slack.


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