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Beach Volleyball
Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
Sand Volleyball To Open First Season With Scrimmage
Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
Release: 02/26/2014
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TEMPE, Ariz.—Arizona State University’s inaugural sand volleyball season is set to get underway with the Maroon and Gold scrimmage on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. MT at the PERA Club.

We’re certainly excited to be part of this movement to add sand volleyball,” head coach Jason Watson said. “We like what it's doing for all of our athletes, and we like the transfer were getting between the indoor and the sand. I think it’s a good fit and we feel like were learning an enormous amount as we go along, so we’re excited to see what happens this season for sure.”

Sand volleyball is contested with five pairings in the best of three sets, which are played to 21 points. The tiebreaker third set is played to 15.

The team win goes to the squad that secures three of the five wins throughout the match.

“For some of them, their game lends itself better than others,” Watson said. “I certainly think that Bethany and Bianca are pretty solid together. Macey and Whitney are also playing very well together, and we’re very excited about Andy and Nora as a team.

ASU’s team pairings for the 2014 season will be:
Sophomores Macey Gardner and Whitney Follette
Sophomore Bianca Arellano and senior Bethany Jorgensen
Freshman Kizzy Willey and sophomore Jordy Checkal
Freshmen Genevieve Pirotte and BreElle Bailey
Sophomore Andi Lowrance and junior Nora Tuioti-Mariner
Saturday’s scrimmage will decide the seeding order for seeding from one through five.

“There are just some things that each of our five teams have really surprised us,” Watson added. “Kizzy and Jordy are complimenting each other really well and so is our fifth team, Genevieve and Bree. We’re excited for all of them and it’s been this evolution that’s been fun to see. These teams are really coming together and competing and it’s fascinating.

The Sun Devils will be utilizing two of their three courts on Saturday, with action on each beginning at 12:30 p.m.

Court 1 (East Court)
12:30 p.m. –Arellano/Jorgensen vs. Willey/Checkal
1:15 p.m. – Gardner/Follette vs. Arellano/Jorgensen
2 p.m. – Gardner/Follette vs. Willey/Checkal

Court 2 (West Court)
12:30 p.m. – Bailey/Pirotte vs. Lowrance/Tuioti-Mariner
1:15 p.m. – Willey/Checkal vs. Pirotte/Bailey
2 p.m. – Arellano/Jorgensen vs. Lorance/Tuioti-Mariner

The Sun Devils will host three matches this season, starting with Nebraska on Wednesday, March 26 at 3 p.m.

“I think we got into the scheduling of the sand event pretty late and with that, we have some unique arrangements, like mid-week matches,” Watson said. “We’re excited that three schools are coming out here and that we get to host Nebraska. We think that’s a marque match up for us.”

ASU will round out the 2014 slate with a pair of home matches, hosting Arizona on April 24 at 3 p.m. MT before playing their finale against Boise State on April 25 at 4 p.m. MT.

“Certainly, Arizona is an important match up as is Boise State,” Watson added. “Those are three events that we’re going to have to learn how to run and figure out what it takes. We hope it becomes an annual event and that those schools see us as a destination.”

Following the opening scrimmage, ASU will make two treks down I-10 to Tucson, the first on March 8 for the Arizona Invitational. ASU will face Arizona Christian, followed by Pac-12 rival Arizona.

The Wildcat Spring Challenge will bring ASU back to Tucson, as the Sun Devils face Tulane on March 14 before they take on Arizona Christian for the second time this season on March 15.

“There are certainly some challenges with scheduling as we blend our indoor team with our sand team, but we think what we have is a good, light schedule,” Watson said. “We’re playing the minimum number of dates that we can play. We’ll probably expand upon it as we learn more, but I know that our athletes are really excited about another opportunity to compete.  It’s different than in the fall and they talk about it a lot. We’re anxious to see where this thing takes us.”

ASU will also make a trip to California, taking on Loyola Marymount on April 19 at 2 p.m. MT before competing in the Pac-12 Tournament on April 19-20 in Santa Monica.

The PERA Club, ASU’s new home, is located three and a half miles north of the Tempe Campus on 1 East Continental Dr.

“We have this immaculate practice and competition facility at the PERA Club,” Watson said. “It’s amazing. They treat us incredibly well, and I think the girls are really feeling spoiled. I think they feel special. It’s a home for them and they’re not sharing it with anybody. It’s theirs and they’re treated as such, which is really exciting.”

PERA, which stands for Project Employees Recreation Association is a private club for the employees and families of the Salt River Project.

“I think the PERA Club and what they’re doing for us is unbelievable and clearly we wouldn’t have sand volleyball at the level we have it now if it wasn’t for that club and Kemp Ellis (Director of PERA Corporate Operations at SRP),” Watson said. “It’s this really special relationship.”

The 83-acre club houses a social center, employee store, fitness center, swimming pool, game courts, and fields and offers children's programs, fitness classes, business meetings, sports leagues, and parties.

This season, indoor volleyball director of operations, Jackie Scarduzio, will serve as the sand assistant coach, joining head coach Jason Watson.

In the fall, the Sun Devils (19-14, 8-12 Pac-12) unseated the defending national champions en route to its second-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. ASU opened the season with a 12-1 record, sweeping each team they defeated. Battling through the Pac-12 Conference schedule, the Sun Devils rounded out their season in Hawaii, falling in a five-set thriller to BYU. Senior Stephanie Preach stepped into the record books, rounding out her career as the second-ever Sun Devil to reach the 2000-dig plateau. Macey Gardner was named to the Pac-12 All-Conference team, while BreElle Bailey was named to the All-Freshman Team. Caitlyn Francis earned First-Team All-Academic honors, while Shannan McCready was named to the second team, and Gardner and Whitney Follette each earned honorable mention nods.

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