Back in August, UT Martin became one of just four schools in the OVC, and one of 53 schools around the nation to start a beach volleyball program. Now, just seven months later, the Skyhawks have started their first season.
"It is the fastest growing NCAA sport right now," head coach Jaclynn Yocum said about starting the team. "So it is cool to be on the ground level."
Finding players for this new program was the easy part for Yocum, who is also the Skyhawks indoor volleyball coach.
"We were all at practice and when she told us we were on the beach team, we were like blank faced," said junior Jemimia Idemudia, who is also on the indoor team.
They say the volleyball is the same, but adding the sand takes it to another level.
"It was a lot to adjust to at first just because jumping on sand is a lot different than jumping on the court," freshman Hannah Phillips said.
"It is harder to get off the ground," said freshman Macy Catlett. "A lot more tiring for sure."
Although their first season has already started, the building process continues with three sand volleyball courts going in next to the Elam Center this summer. But until then, they have had to find other places to practice, whether indoors or outdoors.
"We played in our first tournament this last weekend," Yocum said. "We hadn't been in the sand, hadn't been over here for over two weeks and have only been in the sand a handful of times."
Dispite opening up the season 0-4, success in their first season will be defined in different ways.
"It is going to be a struggle as far as wins and losses go," said Yocum. "But we want to have fun with it and we are trying to be optimistic and enjoy the process."
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