Saturday's weather ideal for the beach, and perfect for the visiting Florida State sand volleyball squad as they took on Gulf Coast for the second straight year for some exhibition matches. The Noles are one of the top sand volleyball programs in the country, sitting at 7-1 on the year and ranked 4th in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association poll.
Sand volleyball is on the way to becoming NCAA sanctioned, and FSU is one of the pioneer programs, entering their third season of competition. While sand is what FSU does best, the sport is more of a training tool for Gulf Coast, who plays indoor in the fall, and the Lady Dores pretty pumped to be on the sand Saturday afternoon.
"We only started practicing 3-4 weeks ago and I'd never touched a beach volleyball before then," said freshman Daniela Suarez. "It's quite a privilege, it's pretty cool to say I played against FSU. It's a privilege, it's awesome for them to take their time when they didn't have to come over here and play us."
"I imagine it's gotta be a little bit intimidating for them because they've only had one practice and we've been practicing since September and obviously we play the sand game and they play the court game," said Seminoles head coach Danalee Corso. "I know that's gotta be intimidating and I'm so grateful they come out and I mean, we just want to compete all day."
The growth of the sport is unparalleled, second only to Lacrosse over the past five years, and Corso said she's happy to see the sport she loves grow so quickly.
"I think in a few years this is just going to blow up," she said. "It's a very easy sport to just fall in love with, and I think you know you can have small players you can have tall players there's a lot of different varieties. The people that work hard are the ones that are most successful so there is a lot of hope for those athletes that work hard."
Corso added she plans on coming to play Gulf Coast an annual even on FSU's schedule.