Nationally Ranked Beach Volleyball Opens Season In March

Tue, Mar 15, 2016 at 3:10PM

Here’s something you may not know about Stetson athletics.  The Hatters are a national power in Beach Volleyball – the newest and fastest growing NCAA sport with 47 sponsoring schools. In 2015, Stetson ranked sixth nationally in this emerging sport for women.

This year, the Hatters are undergoing a new beginning of their own. With the graduation of 11 seniors last spring and only six veterans returning to the squad, the Hatters will be relying on their 13 newcomers to help make an impact on the team.

Two major home tournaments, including one featuring several national contenders, highlight the 2016 Stetson University beach volleyball schedule.

Stetson, two-time defending Atlantic Sun Conference champions, will open the season March 4-6 by hosting the Stetson Spring Break tournament. Carson Newman, the College of Charleston, Eckerd, Spring Hill, and UNC Wilmington will join Stetson for the three-day event.

On March 25-26, the Hatters will host some of the top teams in the nation for its second home tournament. Hawaii (No. 4 in the final DiG Magazine Top 20 poll), Florida International (No. 5), Stetson (No. 6), Florida State (No. 7), UCLA (No. 10), and Florida Atlantic will compete at the Stetson Beach Volleyball complex during the two-day event.

“We are very excited about being able to host some of the top schools in the country at our home this season,” Stetson head coach Kristina Hernandez said. “It is going to be some of the best east coast schools and some of the best in the west. It is great for our program and university to be able to host such a stellar event on our campus. It is going to be a great weekend of highly competitive matches.”

In 2015, the Hatters won a school-record 22 matches, claimed the Atlantic Sun regular season and conference championship, and finished the season ranked sixth nationally in both the AVCA Coaches Poll and DiG Magazine Top 20 Poll.  Hernandez returns for her third season as head coach.

So, if you are in for something different, bring some sunscreen, a cooler, blanket or lawn chairs and spend an afternoon watching one of America’s fastest growing sports on the beautiful Stetson campus. Admission is free to all home beach volleyball events.  Parking for the facility is near Smith Hall on Arizona Avenue. For more information on beach volleyball including the full spring schedule go to gohatters.com

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