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Sun Devil Athletics to add sand volleyball in 2014

July 09, 2013

The Sun Devil Athletics Department announced on July 8 that it will be adding women’s sand volleyball at the beginning of the spring 2014 competition season.

Jason Watson, the head coach of the indoor volleyball program since 2008, will also serve as head coach of the sand volleyball team. Watson guided ASU to an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2012 and, in back-to-back seasons, has brought in nationally ranked freshman classes – 21st in 2012 and 13th in 2013.

"We are pleased and excited to announce the addition of sand volleyball as the 22nd sport here at Arizona State University," said Steve Patterson, vice president for University Athletics. "As the enthusiasm for the sport of sand volleyball is growing across the country, we look forward to translating the same success of our indoor program to sand, under the direction of Jason Watson. He will serve as the head coach for both programs with the vision that sand emerges as an elite program in the coming years."

Sand volleyball teams are required to play at least eight dates and three of the competitions must be dual matches. The maximum number of competitions is 16 dates.

“This announcement further confirms the commitment of ASU and Sun Devil Athletics to volleyball. It’s an exciting expansion for not only our current student-athletes, but those looking to join us in the near future. Sand volleyball and all it entails provides another resource for our program to continue to develop and grow within the Pac-12 Conference and nation,” said Watson.

Fifteen schools competed in sand volleyball in 2012 and an additional 15 added the sport in 2013. Once 40 institutions in Division I and II have sponsored varsity programs for one year, the NCAA will sponsor an NCAA Championship in the sport. Other schools that have recently added the sport are LSU, South Carolina and Arizona. Fellow Pac-12 Conference schools that have, or will be adding, sand volleyball are: Arizona, Cal, Stanford, USC and UCLA.

“Sand volleyball doesn’t come to fruition at ASU without the vision and commitment of so many people. Our athletic administration has been extremely supportive of this venture.” 

At the high school level, Arizona is the first state to add sand volleyball as an officially sanctioned sport. The Arizona Interscholastic Association and USA Volleyball worked closely together as the AIA board voted to move forward with the addition, which is expected to add eight to 32 teams this spring. Arizona led the way with a local Phoenix school playing in what was dubbed the “first official high school sand volleyball games.”

Differences between court and sand volleyball


• court is played in fall, sand in the spring

Format of play: 

• court is best of five sets, games score 25-25-25-25-15

• sand individual matches are two sets to 21, tie-breaker set to 15 if needed

• sand dual meets, the winning team is the school winning three of five matches with a school’s field of five doubles teams

• both are rally scoring and must be won by two points

Number of athletes in play:

• court: six

• sand: two

Specific sand volleyball rules:

• no open-handed tipping

• block touches count as first of three allowable contacts

• coaches may only speak to players during timeouts and between sets

• players switch sides of the court every seven points in a 21-point set, and every five points in a 15-point set