Pepperdine Announces 2012 Sand Volleyball Schedule

Lilla Frederick

Feb. 14, 2012

2012 Schedule

MALIBU, Calif. - Head sand volleyball coach Nina Matthies announced the 2012 schedule today, as Pepperdine gears up for the inaugural season of the emerging sport. The Waves are scheduled to host two dual matches and will compete in at least eight events, culminating in the AVCA National Championships at the end of April.

The Waves open the season on March 16-18, when they face Long Beach State, Florida State and host school USC in Santa Monica, Calif. at the Annenberg Community Beach House.

The opening week of play continues with a dual match against the 49ers in Long Beach on March 21 at 2 p.m.

Pepperdine concludes the month of March on the road, with a trio of duals hosted by the College of Charleston in South Carolina. On March 23, the Waves play Alabama-Birmingham followed by a March 24 contest versus the hosting Cougars. On the final day, March 25, Pepperdine takes on Mercer.

"With just four California schools sponsoring sand volleyball this season (others being USC, Long Beach State and Loyola Marymount), Pepperdine has made a commitment to allow us to travel and play in various tournaments in order to see the different competition around the country," explained Matthies, who will be assisted by Marcio Sicoli.

The Waves host the first of two home events on Thursday, April 5 at noon, once again playing Long Beach State. A rematch with the Trojans is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 7.

Zuma Beach, on the south end near tower two, is where the Pepperdine sand volleyball team will call home in 2012.

The annual USA Volleyball Collegiate Challenge is next on the Waves' slate, and will be held on Hermosa Beach on April 14-15.

Last season, Pepperdine won the team cup competition after going one-two in the individual standings. Caitlin Racich (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos HS) and Kim Hill (Portland, Ore./Portland Christian HS) took first place overall, defeating fellow Waves Stevi Robinson (Hermosa Beach, Calif./Mira Costa HS) and Emily Cook (Huntington Beach, Calif./Murrieta Valley HS) in the championship match.

Various formats of competition will be tested throughout the season in order to see what the best fit for collegiate sand volleyball is. One such format will be a team dual match. Dual matches will be a contest for the best-of-five team points. Ten two-person teams, five from each school, will battle head-to-head, with each match worth one point. The overall dual match is decided when one team secures three points.

Similar to collegiate tennis, which features both team and individual singles and doubles competitions, sand volleyball will also play in individual tournaments. Doubles pairs will be placed in brackets and compete in a single elimination tournament until an overall winner is crowned.

"There will be a lot of trial and error this season," explained Matthies, who is a legend in the sport in her own right. In 139 career starts on the beach, she won 43 titles and earned 93 podium finishes.  She was inducted into Beach Volleyball Hall of Fame in 2004. "It's been a tremendous amount of work, but I'm excited to be a part of this from the very beginning."

The season concludes with the AVCA National Championship on April 27-29 in Gulf Shores, Ala.  As an emerging sport, the NCAA is not sponsoring a sand volleyball national championship in 2012. The competition will consist of both a team championship, which will include the top four NCAA women's sand teams, and a pairs championship, which will consist of the top-16 collegiate doubles teams.  Invitations to participate will be based on 2012 season results and tournament selections will be made by a committee.

Fourteen members of the Waves' 2011 indoor squad, who reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, in addition to Racich and Summer Ross (Carlsbad, Calif./Carlsbad Seaside Academy), make up the 2012 Pepperdine sand volleyball roster.

Ross transferred to Pepperdine from Washington in January and is largely considered one of the best junior sand players in the world having won the FIVB Youth and Junior World Championship in 2010.  She subsequently became the first junior athlete to be named USA Volleyball Beach Female Athlete of the Year.

Racich, who was a member of the indoor team as a freshman and sophomore, became the Waves' first scholarship recipient for sand volleyball last fall.



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