News and Events
Pepperdine Adds Sand Volleyball to its List of Sponsored NCAA Sports
Pepperdine University’s Department of Athletics will add women’s sand volleyball as an intercollegiate sport under the direction of indoor volleyball coach Nina Matthies, one of the best beach volleyball players in the history of the sport.
“We are excited to add women’s sand volleyball to the Pepperdine athletic program and believe it will prove to be a popular sport for our community,” says director of athletics Steve Potts. “Volleyball has a great tradition here and we are committed to building a championship women’s sand volleyball program.”
In January 2010 the NCAA added sand volleyball to its list of emerging Division I sports for women beginning in the 2011-12 school year. The sport will begin competition in spring 2012, likely at the start of March, and will run for approximately two months.
Pepperdine’s first-ever recipient of a sand volleyball scholarship is junior Caitlin Racich, who has chosen to forego playing indoor in order to focus on sand volleyball. Matthies anticipates 12 to 14 of the 18 players on her 2011 indoor roster will end up playing sand volleyball this spring.
“My vision is that eventually we’ll have six kids on sand volleyball scholarships, six kids on indoor scholarships, and others on indoor scholarships who are hybrids that will play both,” Matthies explains.
Matthies and the Waves began gearing up for sand volleyball by taking a date out of their spring schedule each of the last three years to take part in the USA Volleyball Beach Collegiate Championship. Pepperdine won the team title in both 2009 and 2011.
“Where we are is such a great spot for sand volleyball,” Matthies continues. “We’re one of the few schools that can truly say we’re right at the beach already. Pepperdine and sand volleyball are like two peas in a pod.” The Waves will begin competition by using one of several already-existing sand volleyball spots in Malibu to practice and compete. In the future, the possibility exists that on-campus facilities will be added.
Matthies, who begins her 29th year as head coach of the Waves’ women’s indoor team in 2011, was recognized as one of the top beach players in the world before she retired in 1992. An inductee into both the Women’s Professional Volleyball Association Hall of Fame and the Manhattan Beach Volleyball Walk of Fame, Matthies won 43 titles and had 93 podium finishes in 139 career beach appearances.
Volleyball Magazine named Matthies as one of the "Most Influential People in the First 100 Years of Volleyball." In 2004 she was named to the 75th Anniversary All-Era Team by USA Volleyball.
Many of her players have gone on to success on the professional beach tours as well, most notably Nicole Sanderson (who finished fourth at the 2004 Olympics for her native Australia), Mary Bailey (who recently retired after more than 25 years of competition), Christina Hinds (who is attempting to make the Greek sand volleyball team for the 2012 Olympics), and Carrie-Romer Wright.
For more information, visit the Pepperdine Athletics Web site.