Wayne State to add beach volleyball as varsity sport
Beach volleyball will be the latest varsity sport offered by Wayne State College athletics, according to an announcement by Wildcat Director of Athletics Mike Powicki.
Wayne State College will compete in the NCAA's National Collegiate Division for beach volleyball. Beach volleyball will be the second female sport added at Wayne State College in recent weeks, joining the return of women's golf that was announced June 19.
"We are excited to announce the addition of another varsity sports program," remarked Powicki. "Beach volleyball is a sport we have been monitoring for the past couple years and seen its popularity grow all over the country. It is an exciting addition to Wildcat Athletics. We also hope it will have a positive impact on our indoor court program as well with regards to recruiting talented student-athletes. For those young volleyball players who want to compete in both court and beach volleyball at a high level, Wayne State College will now provide that opportunity."
The addition of beach volleyball will add approximately 15 female student athlete opportunities to the Wildcat athletic program and becomes the ninth female sport at Wayne State College and 15th sport overall in the Wayne State athletic department. The Wildcat beach volleyball team will consist primarily of the same student-athletes that compete in fall indoor volleyball.
"We have discussed the possible addition of beach volleyball for quite some time now," stated WSC head coach Scott Kneifl. "This is a great addition to our volleyball/athletic department here at WSC. It's a fast growing sport and we will start small and develop the program over the next few years. There are so many positive things that come with it that both Mike Powicki and I decided there is no better time than the present to start this program."
Beach volleyball is one of the fastest growing sports in NCAA history and was taken off of the emerging NCAA sports list in 2015 and became an NCAA Championship sport. According to the American Volleyball Coaches Association, 221 colleges in NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA and Junior Colleges will sponsor a varsity women's beach volleyball program in the 2019-20 school year. Wayne State College will compete as an independent member of National Collegiate Beach Volleyball and joins the University of Nebraska as the only other school in the state of Nebraska to have a beach volleyball program. Wayne State becomes the 18th program in NCAA Division II to have beach volleyball.
Kneifl added, "This is great for our student athletes to have more playing opportunities with the addition of beach volleyball. We feel the addition of beach volleyball will not only help our court team recruit talented volleyball players to Wayne State College, but also allow our own players to work more on their overall game during the beach season."
Beach volleyball consists of two player teams with dual matches featuring five pairs from each team. The school that wins three matches first is the winner with each match consisting of three sets with first to 21 winning the first two sets and a third set to 15 points.
"We understand the challenge competing without divisions, but also feel that when NCAA is ready for Division II beach volleyball that we will have a head start on many other schools, especially in the Midwest," commented Kneifl. "We are very excited about our program and what the addition of beach volleyball can do for our student-athletes."
Kneifl and assistant coach Kim DePew will serve as coaches for the new program.