University of Arizona to compete in sand volleyball but not our high schools…by Andy Morales on Jan. 15, 2013, under Sports
With the University of Arizona joining the ranks of universities competing in sand volleyball, it becomes even more disappointing that Southern Arizona school districts have continued to refuse to let some of the biggest volleyball programs in the state compete in the sport.
Ironwood Ridge coach Bill Lang and Catalina coach Heather Moore-Martin have the athletes, access to the facilities and the will to take on the spring sport but their efforts have not yet been rewarded.
“The news with the UA adopting the sport will help our cause!” said Lang via email. “Unfortunately, we don’t the support of the districts right now.”
Lang did say he was going to keep trying and Moore-Martin believes it would take at least six schools for Tucson and other districts to allow the sport. I’m not sure but I believe schools such as Sabino, Cienega, Canyon del Oro, Sahuaro, Catalina, Ironwood Ridge, Rincon, Tucson High…..could all field competitive teams in the sport.
The AIA allowed competition in the sport last year but only five Phoenix area teams took them up on the offer.
Fountain Hills, Westwind Prep, Scottsdale Prep, Valley Vista and Xavier were the five schools that took part in that pilot season. As I have written before, it plays a bit like tennis with each team consisting of five duos and two alternates for a total of 12 girls. Xavier was able to pick up an easy state championship in the process with no real competition – the kind that a Southern Arizona team would give them.
Desert Sand Volleyball is run out of Sports Park in Marana (run by former pro beach volleyball player Claire D’Amore) and Moore-Martin feels the Tucson Racquet Club could also be a viable facility.
I think the time is now for Southern Arizona school districts to allow girls another opportunity to get to college as another way to help offset the monster named football.
Case in point is former Ironwood Ridge standout Michaela Christiaansen. Christiaansen played on the undefeated Pepperdine team (17-0) that won the inaugural Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championship by defeating Long Beach State in the finals, 5-0.
Christiaansen and her pairs teammates Emily Cook won their match 21-16, 22-20 to help the Waves take it all.