UNF Sand Volleyball Invitational

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Players kickin’ up the sand at the beach

The Pier Park was really “jumpin’ high” with the 4th Annual UNF Sand Volleyball Invitational Tournament. Bringing teams from throughout the Southeast, UNF played host for the second year in a row using our own beach volleyball courts with BEACH 105.5 as the sponsor.

Collegiate sand volleyball is an emerging sport. Each team competition is called a “duel” and consists of five matches with different players at each match. The winning school needs to win three out of five matches. Each pair has two players and the two pair teams play until one reaches 21 in the first three matches and 15 for the remaining two matches. The indoor volleyball season runs from August through December with sand volleyball being played March through May.

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UNF Coaches Steve Loeswick & Samantha Dabbs

“The facilities down here are so nice it makes it easy.” said UNF Coach Steve Loeswick. “We are next to the beach, with showers, bathrooms and hotels close by.” he continued.

“This event is great!”exclaimed UNF  Coach Samantha Dabbs. “Everyone is very welcoming.”Playing professional volleyball for a time, Coach Dabbs was sidelined by an injury. She was pushed by her coaches to get into coaching and she is glad she did. You could see the dedication and experience as she interacted with her players. “This is a great opportunity for Collegiate Volleyball.” she said

Eight colleges brought five-two women teams for this NCAA division volleyball championship. This two day event gave us the opportunity to welcome over 1000 visitors to the beach. Along with UNF teams including: Georgia State, Louisiana, Miami, South Carolina, Charleston and Jacksonville came, not only to enjoy the tournament, but also the attractions and local history. Hotel rooms were filled and businesses noted an increase in customers and revenue.

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Georgia coaches Beth Van Fleet & Kirsten Gallagher

Along with teams from around the SE, Flagler College sent their own teams to play in an exhibition match with UNF. The sand was really flying as the players gave it their all. The weather was perfect and aside from some sun-burned players the weekend went on without a hitch.

“UNF does a great job putting this on.” said Beth VanFleet, coach for Georgia State. “The courts are fantastic and all the local players come out and cheer.” included Coach Gallagher.

As the weekend came to an end it was apparent that this competition was a success. Congratulations to UNF and to all the women who came out to play. Playing in the sand with a cool ocean breeze…it doesn’t get much better than that!