FRISCO — Once the SFA beach volleyball play begins its inaugural season in the spring os 2020, it will be one of nine Southland Conference competing for the league’s first Beach Volleyball Championship from April 17-19, 2020, at the Islanders Beach Volleyball Courts in Corpus Christi.

That was the announcement the 13-team league made this week as the Southland officially added the sport as its 18th sponsored sport. With the announcement, the league added its first sport in nearly two decades and all of the results in the inaugural Southland Beach Volleyball Championship will factor into the Southland’s All-Sports and Commissioner’s Cup Awards in 2019-20. The winning team will also participate in the league’s championship ring program like other sports.

SFA joins Abilene Christian, Central Arkansas, Houston Baptist, New Orleans, Nicholls, Sam Houston State, Southeastern Louisiana and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi as league institutions who will sponsor beach volleyball. In December of 2018, SFA announced it would be adding the sport and subsequently began construction on a playing facility adjacent to the HPE Complex which houses Shelton Gym — the competition facility for SFA’s indoor volleyball squad.

Leading the Ladyjacks’ beach volleyball squad is head coach Alex Luna who was hired in December of 2018. The Dallas, Texas, native most recently served as the assistant coach at San Jose State University for two seasons and was the head coach of USA Volleyball’s U19 National Training Team this past summer. Debbie Humphreys, who begins her 32nd season in charge of the Ladyjacks’ indoor squad, will be SFA’s director of volleyball which includes joint oversight of both the indoor and beach programs.

NCAA BEACH VOLLEYBALL HISTORY | Getting its start on the NCAA scene by getting approved as an emerging sport for women in 2009, beach volleyball was originally called sand volleyball and by October of 2014 the sport had exceeded its original target goal of having 40 NCAA varsity programs. At that point, the sport was approved by Division I programs to be the NCAA’s 90th championship sport. In 2015, the NCAA officially changed the name of the sport to beach volleyball with the first NCAA Division I championship being held in 2016. Currently, 75 teams compete in the sport.

NCAA BEACH VOLLEYBALL RULES | In NCAA beach volleyball, two schools play five best two-out-of-three set doubles matches against one another, with the winner being the first to claim at least three of the contests. Teams are required to take part in a minimum of eight matches on a maximum of 16 playing dates. The majority of teams play 4-5 matches per weekend over a span of four weekend tournaments.

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