The first National Collegiate Women’s Beach Volleyball Championship is complete, and proved to be a landmark event that is certain to become a professional highlight for many. The location was pristine, the beach courts furnished with professional beach volleyball equipment from Sports Imports were top notch, the crowds were diverse and vibrant, and the level of play was phenomenal.
The 2016 inaugural championship took place in Gulf Shores, Alabama and proved to be one of the most beautiful championships hosted by the NCAA. The background sounds of the ocean, aqua colored water and sky, and the blue and white color scheme made for a picturesque and unforgettable setting. The beach volleyball net systems were provided by the long time NCAA partner Sports Imports which ensured high level performance and perfect net tension throughout the matches. “We’re proud to partner with Sports Imports and have it provide the net system at the first ever NCAA Women’s National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship,” said Kristin Fasbender, director of NCAA championships and alliances. “The beach volleyball championship is our 90th NCAA championship and the 45th championship for women. This championship is another opportunity to highlight the great accomplishments of our NCAA female student-athletes and to expose more people to the exciting sport of beach volleyball in Gulf Shores .”
During the event, the vibe among the crowd was relaxed and laid back. Fans, dressed in beach attire filled the beach, moving easily from court to court throughout the day. Amongst the crowd were numerous indoor and beach volleyball coaches ranging from the high school level to the professional level. Scott Taylor, President of the Ohio High School Volleyball Coaches Association traveled from Warren, Ohio to attend the event. Taylor shared that the OHSVCA is exploring the idea of bringing high school beach volleyball to Ohio. He said the OVR (Ohio Valley Region) of USA Volleyball has laid a great foundation for juniors beach volleyball in Ohio. In fact, several clubs from Ohio were competing at the Gulf Coast Region Tournament in Gulf Shores as well. When asked how he was enjoying the NCAA event he said, “The matches have been very enlightening!”
It was great to see indoor collegiate coaches such as LSU’s coach Fran Flory and FSU’s coach Chris Poole, all supporting the inaugural NCAA beach volleyball championship. AVCA President Kathy DeBoer, who was instrumental in the evolution of beach volleyball at the collegiate level, was in attendance, enjoying herself with her coaching companions and supporting the championship.
The evolution of beach volleyball has been exciting to be a part of. Sports Imports has really enjoyed being at the center of that evolution. “Being the Official Net System of the inaugural NCAA Women’s Beach Championship ranks right up there with being the net system used in the first ever Olympic Beach Venue in Atlanta, in 1996” says Sports Imports CEO, Cyndie Dunlap-Cullinan. “The NCAA does a fantastic job with their Indoor and Beach Volleyball Championships, we are honored to be a part of both.”
*Video credit to Eric Bouscher at Sports Imports