GCU Adds Women's Sand Volleyball for Spring 2013

8/17/2012

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GCU Adds Women's Sand Volleyball for Spring 2013

The Grand Canyon University athletic department has announced the addition of a women's sand volleyball program, slated to get underway in the spring of 2013. With this program, GCU now sponsors 22 NCAA intercollegiate sports teams.

"Sand volleyball provides a good competitive environment for us on a regional basis," said GCU Director of Athletics Keith Baker. "The teams with which we will be participating with are name institutions that will help bring notoriety to Grand Canyon University while also providing our student athletes a great arena in which to compete. We believe this will be a great gathering point and environment on campus for our students, faculty and alumni."  

GCU's head women's volleyball coach, Kris Naber, will also serve at the helm of the sand volleyball program, along with current assistant coaches Megan Taylor and Whitney Estes. Estes will act as the lead assistant for the sand volleyball squad. Naber is entering her 18th season as head coach of the women's volleyball team, one season after notching her 250th career win, and is GCU's all-time winningest volleyball coach.

"Sand volleyball is an up and coming sport in the NCAA and we are thrilled for its inclusion at GCU," said Naber. "As we saw with the just completed Olympic Games, the sport has exploded in popularity on both the national and international level. I'm excited to place GCU on the same national footing as schools like USC, Pepperdine and Long Beach State. We anticipate a great interest in our program and expect to see some of the very best players come to GCU."

In the just completed Olympic Games in London, beach volleyball, sand volleyball's equivalent, saw tremendous national television ratings as the American team of Misty May-Treanor and Kerry Walsh Jennings captured their third-straight Gold Medal.

Since emerging onto the collegiate scene in August 2011, the sport now has over 20 teams around the country. According to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), once sand volleyball reaches 40 programs, the sport will move from the Emerging Sports List to full NCAA sponsorship, which will include a championship.

Last year's AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championships were held in Gulf Shores, Ala., and were televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.

The 2013 GCU sand volleyball schedule will be posted to GCULopes.com once completed.

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