BATON ROUGE – Women’s Sand Volleyball will become a new varsity sport at LSU beginning in the spring of 2014 it was announced Wednesday by Joe Alleva, vice chancellor and director of athletics.
“Sand volleyball is an emerging and exciting sport that will complement our existing indoor volleyball program and will bolster our women’s athletics program,” Alleva said. “The addition of sand volleyball will provide more opportunities for female athletes to be a part of LSU Athletics.”
Fran Flory, who has served as head coach of the LSU volleyball team since 1998, will also serve as head coach of the sand volleyball program. She has guided the Tigers to 279 victories over her tenure highlighted by a program-record six consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances from 2005-10. Flory has coached seven players to AVCA All-American honors during her tenure at LSU. The Tiger sand volleyball team will play and practice in a temporary location for its first year of competition before a permanent facility is constructed on the LSU campus.
“Adding sand volleyball to our department is a great chance for LSU to be a leader in new opportunities for female student-athletes,” said Flory. “With our location, climate and local interest in the sport, sand volleyball is an ideal fit for LSU. Our indoor program will benefit from the addition of the sport as well, with additional opportunities for our current players. We are very excited to get started building a championship tradition on the sand.”
The addition of sand volleyball will bring the number of varsity sports at LSU to 21. There are currently 11 women’s sports at LSU and nine men’s sports. Sand volleyball will be the first sport added to LSU’s lineup of teams since women’s soccer and softball were added in the 1996-97 athletic year.
Women’s sand volleyball is a rapidly expanding sport. Only 15 NCAA Division I schools competed in sand volleyball in the spring of 2012, but by the spring of 2013 that number had doubled. Other schools planning to hit the sand in 2014 are Arizona and South Carolina.
Sand volleyball is currently categorized as an “emerging sport” by the NCAA, but when at least 40 schools field varsity teams, it will become fully endorsed by the NCAA and will be classified as a championship sport.
Student-athletes can participate on both the indoor volleyball team and the sand volleyball team, but there will also be student-athletes who are exclusive to each sport. Student-athletes with a scholarship for indoor volleyball can play sand volleyball, but student-athletes with a sand volleyball scholarship cannot participate on the indoor team.
As opposed to the indoor sport which has six players per side during competition, there are just two people per team and no substitutions in sand volleyball. Games are played to 21 in sand volleyball and a match is best of three.