Stevenson University’s athletics program has received numerous accolades and achievements, and the new sand volleyball team is no different. Stevenson is the first Division III university in the nation to sponsor a sand team; overall, the NCAA has sponsored 90 sand volleyball programs.
Dave Trumbo has been coaching the women’s indoor volleyball team for nine years at Stevenson. The Mustangs have won their conference every year since 2012 and have made NCAA appearances from for the last five years.
While Trumbo had never coached sand volleyball until this year, he prepared by attending clinics and high performance camps. Thirteen players from the indoor team are enjoying the opportunity to learn the new sport and improve their skills.
“The team is exceeding expectations because of [their] passion and determination. Competition does not faze them,” said Trumbo. The sand volleyball team made their debut this spring.
Lauren Weaver is an outside hitter for the indoor team and decided to play on the sand to improve her passing skills. She said, “I love that my team is making history.” Her teammates agree that transitioning to sand from indoor has been a learning experience as well.
Unlike indoor volleyball, only two players from each team compete against opponents on the sand. Stevenson’s number one pair competes against the opponent’s number one pair, the number two pairs for each team compete against each other, and so on. There are five pairs per team and a team must win three out of five matches to entirely defeat their opponent.
The team is also adapting to using a different kind of volleyball and having to jump in the sand, which is more difficult than jumping on the gym floor. Despite these challenges, the Mustangs have overcome each obstacle they have faced and are motivated about their upcoming matches.
Trumbo congratulated the team for performing “way beyond expectations and for blazing a trail” as they continue to develop the program at the Division III level. The team continues to practice and will receive official NCAA recognition at the conclusion of their inaugural season.
The team will add players to next year’s roster from Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The final matches will be held on the new sand courts on the Owings Mills campus on April 23 and 24. For more information and the latest on the team, visit GoMustangSports.