Mesa Community College (MCC) is adding a new sport coming in spring 2020.
Megan Taylor, coach of the MCC women’s volleyball, is spearheading the move to bring sand volleyball to the college. According to Taylor, beach volleyball has been a hot topic within sports for the better part of the last decade.
“It is the fastest growing sport in the history of the NCAA and it is also the fastest growing sport Arizona high school athletics,” said Taylor.
It creates a great opportunity for volleyball athletes to maximize their time spent at the junior college. Now her athletes that compete in the fall on her indoor volleyball team can also participate in outdoor volleyball in the spring.
Taylor believes the increase in opportunities will be a good thing for her program as many of her current athletes would like to have the option to play both now.
“The program that I would like to create is that everyone that plays indoor would at least train in the sand and if they want to compete, they could and if they didn’t want to, they didn’t have to,” said Taylor.
A beach volleyball team needs to at least have 10 athletes on the roster and potentially have as many as 20.
In college, they play what is called a “dual” where there are five pairs of two athletes. Each of one teams’ pairing go against the opponents and it becomes a best of five series. This can create an interesting strategic dynamic as you try and match two athletes that will play well together.
You rank each team with a one through five before the game starts. Your opponents are expected to do the same and that is how they match up with the oppositions team. The order that each pairing will dual in also requires strategy.
“with six girls on one side indoor and only three contacts not everybody touches the ball but in beach there is only two so in every play they are both contacting the volleyball,” said Taylor.
The team will start training beach volleyball in this current off-season. There is not currently a beach court on campus and will require the team to have practice at some parks and facilities. Taylor, says the goal for MCC is to have a court created on campus.
Taylor is hoping for MCC to be the first in our conference to have a team. This will require the school to play against some junior college (JuCo) teams from California. It will not all be out of state competition as many of the universities will have teams available for us to compete against.
Many of the athletes that have been coming to play at MCC have already trained in beach volleyball from playing it in club or at there high school in Arizona. This will help with recruiting as the volleyball program will increase its exposure. High school athletes will also have more desire to come to a college that offers both.
The freshman currently on the indoor team will be available to play sand volleyball next year and will start training now that they have finished their season.