University of Arizona Wildcat Women's Sand Volleyball
2 p.m., Friday, March 14; Noon, Saturday, March 15
Jimenez Field, located on the corner of Enke Drive and Campbell Avenue on the University of Arizona Campus
The University of Arizona Women's Volleyball team is currently undefeated. The squad had their first official game on Friday, March 7 and is trying to keep their three-game winning streak alive this weekend. The Wildcats laid the smack down on the Arizona State Sun Devils last Saturday.
"It's not luck," middle blocker Rachel Rhoades said. "We are putting in a lot of work on the sand every day, and it's new for a lot of us so the excitement is alive. I would dedicate it to a lot of work."
"It's a rapidly growing women's sport," said University of Arizona Athletics representative Ryan Dunn. After two seasons of NCAA-sanctioned sand volleyball, the number of schools participating went from 14 to 41 teams, according to Dunn.
Rhoades, a 20-year-old junior, is currently one of four indoor volleyball members that play on both UA teams. Sand Volleyball Coach Steve Walker reached out to some of his former indoor players to help start the inaugural team, and the San Diego native answered the call. "Coach Walker is really positive, straight forward and knows what he wants," Rhoades said. "He asks for most out of his athletes and I think everyone is willing to give to him because we respect him so much."
The Wildcats are hosting a two-day Spring Challenge, competing against Arizona Christian University at 2 p.m. on Friday, March 14 and Tulane University at noon on Saturday, March 15. Admission is free.
It's going to get bigger and bigger every year," Rhoades said. "This sport in the Olympics has grown so much and everyone knows household names Kerri Walsh and Misty May."
"Soon enough we will have video screens, score boards and stands. It's the beginning of an era."