South Carolina adds beach volleyball to sports lineup

South Carolina made a little history in the sand this week as the school’s first-ever beach volleyball squad hit the practice pit.

After going through individual workouts during the last several weeks, the South Carolina sand volleyball team came together for its first team practice Monday at the Blatt PE Center sand courts.

The Gamecocks practiced for two hours, giving head coach Moritz Moritz an opportunity to evaluate his squad’s skill set and how they played and communicated together. Moritz was able to get a good look at the eight players he currently has on his roster but won’t see his full roster until the spring season.

“It’s an unbelievable opportunity to get the group together,” Moritz said. “We only have eight, but it’s good to have all eight together and see everybody interacting together. We just want to develop that baseline standard of what we are doing.

“This is the first step in preparation for March when we actually start competing. We have a running calendar, and it’s 217 days until the AVCA national championships. That’s ultimately our goal. The preparation starts now, and that’s what we are building on.”

South Carolina will officially open its first season of competition in March. Dates and locations of the events will be released when the schedule has been finalized. The Gamecocks will play on a new facility that is currently under construction and is located near the Carolina Tennis Facility, Carolina Softball Stadium and soccer practice fields.

Sand volleyball is South Carolina’s 21st intercollegiate sport. The Gamecocks became the 31st team to sponsor the NCAA emerging sport and the first in the SEC. The current number of schools sponsoring the sport is at 38, and the NCAA will sponsor a championship when 40 institutions have varsity programs for two years.

The growing sport could present more scholarship opportunities for Grand Strand area players, who have more opportunities to play beach volleyball from players from inland communities. The SCHSL is exploring the addition of the sport at the high school level.

Photo courtesy of USC Athletics

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