Jan. 20, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – Florida State University formally kicked off the start of its newest sport’s inaugural season on Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the brand new FSU sand volleyball courts.
Sand volleyball is FSU’s 19th sport and competition begins with an inter-squad Garnet & Gold scrimmage on Feb. 26. FSU’s first regular season matchup will be at UAB on March 3 and the first official home competition will be on March 13 versus Tulane.
Friday’s presentation was a way to formally introduce head coach Danalee Corso and her team as well as show off the squad’s home complex, which features five separate sand courts enclosed by banners with lights hovering over it.
“It’s an amazing day for us,” Corso said. “Breaking into the collegiate atmosphere is so major for our sport. Even though we have gold medals and a professional level, players haven’t trained at a facility like this. It’s awesome. I’m so excited.”
Florida State director of athletics Randy Spetman gave remarks at the ceremony and was followed by associate athletics director for communications Rob Wilson and Corso.
“This has been years of research in the making to pull this altogether,” Spetman said. “Sand volleyball is a perfect fit with Danalee Corso as our head coach and as an emerging sport in the NCAA. We have one of the premier facilities in the nation and will be able to host national championships. It’s very exciting.”
As an emerging NCAA sport, sand volleyball will need 40 teams to sponsor it for two years before the NCAA will sanction a national championship. Until that time the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) will sponsor a national championship event and award All-Americans.
Corso, who was hired as the nation’s first full-time sand volleyball coach this summer, and her players made it known they will be chasing sand volleyball’s first-ever national championship this spring.
“We have the goal of going to the national championships,” captain Aurora Newgard said. “This has been a dream come true. Growing up, I’ve always loved Florida State. It’s really exciting.”
The 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.
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.
For more information on the Florida State sand volleyball team, follow the Seminoles on twitter at: @FSU_SVB.