TUCSON, Ariz. – After going through individual workouts during the fall semester, the Arizona sand volleyball team came together for its first two full team practices in school history on Thursday and Friday at the Arizona Sand Volleyball Courts.
The Wildcats practiced for approximately two hours each day, giving head coach Steve Walker an opportunity to evaluate his squad's skill set. The inaugural roster is made up of 13 student-athletes, four of which are sand only players while the other nine are crossover players from the indoor team.
Walker was able to get a glance of his full roster for the first time since the program was announced last year. He and his staff had the opportunity to work with the sand only players in the fall but they were unable to work with the entire team due to the fall indoor season in full swing, which most of the sand roster is comprised of.
"I’m really pleased with the group we have and it’s the right group of players to fill out our inaugural team,” Walker said. “Right now we are working a whole lot on just establishing good practice habits, staying organized and doing the things we need to be doing on a daily basis to develop as a program.”
Arizona will officially open its first season of competition on March 7 as it will host the Arizona Invitational. The two-day tournament will feature the Wildcats along with Arizona Christian, Arizona State and Grand Canyon. Arizona will take on Arizona Christian in its inaugural match at 2 p.m. at the Arizona Sand Volleyball Courts.
Fans can get glimpse of the inaugural team on Saturday, March 1 for the first annual Red-Blue Exhibition. The event will begin at 12 p.m. at the Arizona Sand Volleyball Courts and admission will be free.
Sand volleyball is Arizona’s 20th intercollegiate sport. Women's sand volleyball is an emerging sport worldwide - as witnessed by its success at recent Olympic Games - and within NCAA circles. Fifteen universities sponsored the sport in 2011-12, its inaugural year, and 29 competed in 2012-13. In addition, California and Washington just announced programs this week, bringing the total number to 40 for the 2013-14 season. In order to be an officially sponsored NCAA championship sport, there must be 40 competing institutions in two consecutive seasons.
For continued coverage of Arizona Wildcat sand volleyball, visit ArizonaWildcats.com and be sure to follow the team on Twitter @ArizonaSandVB and on Instagram @arizonasandvolleyball.