By: Ruby Arani/GCU Staff
It may be the 29th in line to become a Grand Canyon University club sport, but its addition to roster continues to show how much the ‘Lopes want to stay ahead of the national curve.
GCU Club is the first of many universities to adopt women’s club beach volleyball-one of the fastest-growing women’s sports in the nation-into its program. According to the American Volleyball Coaches Association, there are over 1,000 women athletes participating in beach volleyball at 64 different institutions. But while it’s new to GCU Club, the woman holding the reins of the program has known the impact of the sport here on campus-and across the nation-for quite a while.
“I started the GCU Beach Volleyball program when GCU was in its last year of Division II,” GCU Club Head Women’s Beach Volleyball Coach Kristine Naber said. “The program itself grew, and the sport of beach volleyball has exploded within the last few years.”
Naber thinks it’s only a matter of time before the growth of club beach volleyball will mirror the NCAA explosion, and for those who are skeptical on how well it might do on our campus, Naber merely advises them to look around during the evenings. “You can see how popular intramural beach volleyball is here on the campus of GCU, since the courts are always busy at night,” said Naber. “Now to add beach volleyball to the club program is a huge step to grow the sport. It’s a great sport to play, but also brings students to campus, getting them more involved in a new way. I can see club beach volleyball exploding in the near future.”
The main goal now for Naber? Make GCU the pioneer of the collegiate club beach volleyball.
The GCU women’s club beach volleyball will begin practice in the fall leading up to their inaugural season in the spring of 2018.