March 2, 2012
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Florida State sand volleyball team will open its inaugural season with a double-header at UAB on Saturday at 1 p.m. CT. It will be the first-ever collegiate sand volleyball match ever played.
The Seminoles begin their first campaign on a nine-day road swing. After facing the Blazers, FSU will travel to New Orleans to face Tulane on Monday at 4 p.m. CT.
The Garnet & Gold will wrap-up their first away trip at the Clash of the Collegians tournament in Winter Haven, Fla., from March 8-9.
Florida State held a Garnet & Gold intersquad match last weekend, but this will be the squad's first competition against outside opponents.
"It's going to be very interesting to see," head coach Danalee Corso said. "I feel like our team is ready. I couldn't imagine preparing them any better. They are far exceeding my expectations. I'm excited to see how we are going to stack up against the competition."
FSU will open its home schedule when it hosts Tulane at 4 p.m. ET on March 13 at the Sand Volleyball Complex in Tallahassee.
The sand volleyball team consists of nine full-time sand volleyball players and seven players who are also members of FSU's indoor volleyball team, including senior All-Americans Visnja Djurdjevic and Jekaterina Stepanova.
Aurora Newgard and Amanda Saxton have been named captains for the initial season, and Brittany Tiegs, Stephanie Pelliteri, Jeassica McGregor and Jace Pardon were all recruited to play for the sand team and are expected to make an immediate impact.
Each competition will consist of five matches between pairs. The winning team will need to win three matches in a best-of-five format. The separate matches will be conducted as best-of-three set competitions, with rally scoring to 21 in the first two sets and to 15 in the third. Teams must win by at least two points in all cases.
The Noles are one of 15 schools competing in the first season of collegiate volleyball. As an emerging sport, sand volleyball has 10 years to gain the minimum of 40 sponsoring institutions for two years in a row, required to be considered an NCAA Championship competition. During the second year of 40 teams, the NCAA will host a national championship.
"Here we are, having played for decades to see this come to fruition on a college campus with the facilities and resources for these student-athletes - it's amazing," Corso said.