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Beach volleyball goes undefeated at Battle of the Bay

Tampa v Florida State University in volleyball action at FSU on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019. (Photo by Taylor Jones)

By Isabel Marhoun

The beach volleyball team received national recognition when they received  votes from the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll after the Battle of the Bay Tournament which ran from March 8-10 in St. Petersburg.

The spartans went 4-0 against University of Tennessee-Martin, Western Illinois University, University of Florida and Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU). The UNF and FGCU were upsets due to these teams having better records than UT.

“I was ecstatic over how we did in the tournament,” said Julia Oswald, freshman blocker. “I knew we had a lot of potential so it was really rewarding to have the 4-0 weekend that we did.”

This tournament helped the team seeing as it got them a chance to be voted in the top 20 poll for the American Volleyball Coaches association. Since UT is only a Division II school getting counted in the top 20 teams would get the school national recognition because Division I teams are more commonly voted in this poll.

“We [were] all really excited about this past weekend,” said senior Marisa Beisner “[The team] made a lot of adjustments and improvements and we still have a lot of work to do, but we are looking forward to playing this weekend against some more experienced beach programs.”

Beach volleyball is an up and coming sport at UT. University athletics implemented its program in 2017, making this the Spartans second season on the sand.

The Spartans performed well in their first tournament, going 3-1 and facing off against large Division I schools such as Coastal Carolina. After seeing how UT beat a big team like UNF, it is easy to understand why national coaches are taking notice of Tampa.

Student assistant coach Jamison Jendrush said that receiving this kind of attention is good for the team considering it’s only their second year.

“I am optimistic about the rest of the season, the wins vs. UNF and FGCU were huge for us as a program,” said Jendrush. “These next two weekends will be super important for us to see where we are compared to Division I teams across the nation.”

The next big tournament on the teams schedule is the Florida Atlantic Beach Bash in Boca, Raton, Florida on Mar. 22 and 23.

Isabel Marhoun can be reached at isabel.marhoun@spartans.ut.edu

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