When the NCAA deemed sand volleyball an emerging sport in 2009, advocates saw it as an opportunity to introduce more high school students to the game.
In North Carolina, watching the growth of high school lacrosse prompted organizers to consider forming a sand volleyball league.
They hope interest in sand volleyball at the club level will grow to a point where the N.C. High School Athletic Association will consider making it a sanctioned sport; but the NCHSAA only sanctions sports that many of its schools usually one-fourth have made it a varsity sport or are close to making it one.
Our goal is in five to 10 years that there will be enough interest in the sport of high school sand volleyball that it will be sanctioned by the NCHSAA, said Joy Daniels, coach of Broughtons sand volleyball club.
Apex, Middle Creek, Cardinal Gibbons and Athens Drive are a few of the of nine schools most in the Triangle that make up the N.C. High School Sand Volleyball Association.
In the leagues first year, sand volleyball association President Mark Nalevanko reached out to the handful of states that already have made moves to incorporate sand volleyball.
The Arizona Interscholastic Association began offering the sport two years ago. Competition started with five teams and grew to eight this season. Eric Hodgson, director of outreach for the Arizona region of USA Volleyball, said he expects the number of teams to grow again next year.
Its going in the right direction. Its getting bigger, Hodgson said. We approached (the state association) four years ago about adding sand because that was the year the NCAA made it an emerging sport. We had a crunch with Title IX. .. .They needed to add a girls sport, and one that can be fairly inexpensive and quick, but we see its growing and its getting better.
Broughton, Carrboro, (New Bern) Epiphany School, Ravenscroft and St. Davids are the other schools participating in the North Carolina league this year. Apex, Gibbons, Broughton and Athens Drive each have multiple teams.
Many local games were played at Green Road Park, North Cary Park and Green Hope Elementary School Park.