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Georgia State preps for the inaugural sand volleyball season in 2012-2013

Published: Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 17:01

GeorGia sTaTe sPorTs communicaTions

Volleyball coach Tami Audia will also serve as head coach for the inagural sand volleyball team

        Georgia State will add its tenth women's sport with the Georgia State sand volleyball team, coached by current indoor volleyball head coach Tami Audia.

      Director of Athletics Cheryl L. Levick announced last semester that Georgia State will join 15-20 other schools beginning play in spring 2012.

       "It is exciting to know that we're on the forefront here at Georgia State," Levick told Georgia State Athletics. "We want GSU to be one of the premier programs, and we're working very hard behind the scenes every day to make that happen."

      Joining Audia on the coaching staff will be former a former Georgia State player Beth Van Fleet who has eight years of professional sand volleyball experience.

Van Fleet is ranked fourth at Georgia State for most kills from 1995-1998 with 1,177 kills.

Van Fleet told Georgia State Athletics "we have the ingredients to be successful here at GSU."

      In her time as a professional sand volleyball player, Van Fleet has worked with the same coaches as Olympians Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh.

Per NCAA rules Georgia State was granted four full scholarships for the new sand volleyball team.

     The Georgia State sand team welcomed its first five signees with Jasnsen Button, Sara Olivova, Milani Pickering, Katelyn Rawls, and Nikki Senopoulos.

All five of the ladies bring loads of talent and experience to the sand volleyball squad.

      "Due to this group's athleticism, ball handling skills and knowledge of the sand game we'll be a team that makes instantaneous adjustments and executes," said Van Fleet.

         The players will be the first to play in the brand new sports complex that is currently being constructed behind the GSU Sports Arena. The complex will hold three sand courts and will seat 1,250 fans.

        Other schools that will add sand volleyball teams in the southeast are Florida State, College of Charleston, Mercer, Jacksonville and UAB.

        According to the American Volleyball Coaches Association the NCAA will not sponsor a championship for sand volleyball until at least 40 institutions have upheld a program for two years.

           Sand volleyball will be played in the spring the same time as softball and baseball, and the Division I season will begin on the first Thursday in March and end eight weeks later or at the end of the school year.

Georgia State will be required to play eight dates with at least three dual competitions with a maximum of 16 matches.

       Court volleyball players are able to play on the sand team and would function as a two-sport athlete.

More information about the sand volleyball team can be found at www.georgiastatesports.com.

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