Hawai‘i Athletics to serve up sand volleyball in 2012

The University of Hawai‘i Athletics Department will be one of the pioneers in the nation when it serves up its first sand volleyball game in March.

The addition of sand volleyball as a new intercollegiate sport starting in the 2011-12 school year was made by the UH Athletic Department, Monday, when Scott Wong was announced as the inaugural head coach. Sand volleyball is recognized by the NCAA as an emerging women’s Division I sport.

With the addition of sand volleyball, Hawai‘i will now feature 21 intercollegiate teams — 13 women’s, seven men’s and one co-ed.

“Sand volleyball is the perfect addition to complement our very competitive indoor program,” said Marilyn Moniz-Kaho‘ohanohano, associate athletics director and senior woman administrator, in a Hawai‘i release. “The combination will ensure that elite players consider us the top attraction in the nation.”

Moniz-Kaho‘ohanohano said Hawai‘i has the best island environment and talent to develop this sport at the highest level.

“We are looking forward to the opportunities it presents to the players to excel indoors and outdoors in our most popular sport for women’s volleyball,” she said. “With Head Coach Scott Wong and his great background in beach volleyball, we are in for a lot of fun.”

Wong is an associate head coach with the Hawai‘i indoor team.

“I’m honored that Athletics Director Jim Donovan had the confidence in me to start this sand volleyball program and I’m excited about this opportunity to coach the young women who are going to represent the university and the state of Hawai‘i,” Wong said. “Our goal is to be the best and to build this team into a championship caliber program.”

Indoor volleyball and sand volleyball will operate as a combined program, states the release.

There will be at least 14 players on the team, and during the beginning of the sand volleyball program development, the bulk of the players will be members of the indoor team.

Competition starts in March and ends in May with Hawai‘i expected to host one, or two, weekend tournaments and travel two weekends to participate in Mainland tournaments.

The University of Hawai‘i is also planning on playing four dual matches for a total of eight to 12 playing dates.

A collegiate national championship event is still being discussed.

A total of 14 schools have committed to field a sand volleyball program as of June. These include West Coast schools Long Beach State, Pepperdine and USC.

Competition format is dual matches with five doubles teams and/or tournament style with multiple opponents. The first team to win two of three sets wins. Sets 1 and 2 will be played to 21 points, rally scoring with the third set to 15 points, rally scoring.

Hawai‘i’s sand volleyball team will play the 2012 season at an off-campus site to be determined.

Two competition courts are projected to be built by the end of 2012 in the Clarence T.C. Ching Complex and two additional practice courts adjacent to the complex will also be added by the end of 2012.

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