Beach Volleyball

by Bill Davis

Late last week I was channel surfing through the Pac-12 Networks and came across women's beach volleyball games pitting Pepperdine vs. UCLA. As someone who has lived on the left coast for awhile now, I have become much better acquainted with women's volleyball than when living in the northeast so have been developing an appreciation for the game, especially as the University of Washington women's team has enjoyed a good amount of success. That being said, having played some beach volleyball on Cape Cod growing up, the momentum around beach volleyball as an NCAA sport appears to be cresting.

One of the stats mentioned in the Pepperdine vs. UCLA match was that women's beach volleyball is the fastest growing sport in NCAA history.  Another sign of NCAA beach volleyball's popularity is that ESPN just picked up its broadcast rights through 2022.  As the 2018 season is just getting underway, thought it would be worth alerting people to this in case you were looking for another reason to get down to the beach (like we don't have enough reasons to go to the beach already).  And for those in the southeast, the 2018 National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championships will be held in Gulf Shores, AL in early May.

And building on this, the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) 2018 Tour, the 35th year, will start the same weekend as the NCAA Championships, but in Huntington Beach, CA.  This will continue throughout the summer across the nation wrapping up Labor Day weekend in Chicago.  So for those looking for another reason to visit their local beach this summer, watching and / or participating in some beach volleyball is as good a reason as any.

Mon, 4/30/18, update - here's the bracket for the 8 teams that qualified for the NCAA Beach Volleyball championships this weekend in Gulf Shores, AL