Out of the 10 colleges and universities in the state of Mississippi with NCAA athletic programs, not a single one has ever hosted a beach volleyball match on their campus, until this past week.
“This is outstanding,” said head coach Stephanie Radecki. “It’s exciting to have so many people here that are so excited about Beach Volleyball. A lot of people have put in a lot of hard work to make this happen, and so the day is finally here and it’s just so much fun to have such a great crowd and so many people that are excited to be apart of our first event here at Southern Miss.”
On Tuesday, Southern Miss became the first Division 1 university in the history of Mississippi to host a beach volleyball match.
The Southern Miss women’s volleyball team faced off against Tulane in front of a raucous crowd, something the players were not used to.
“It’s actually a lot of fun,” said team captain Kylie Grand. “Because I’ve played indoor and we don’t have a lot of fans and things like that so coming out here and just having people be excited to come watch us play, and bringing their grills out here and bringing their tents and just sitting on the sideline getting super excited, it’s a lot of fun. And it definitely helps us during games too. So just the energy is really fun and enjoyable.”
Southern Miss has had an indoor volleyball team for some time now. But, the transition to beach volleyball is just different said Grandy.
“Beach Volleyball is a huge change but its a very chill environment, but still very competitive,” Gandy said. “And it’s very fun to be around. It makes it more fun for the fans, more fun for the players and I just absolutely love it. It’s great here.”
The woman in charge of Southern Miss’ newest team is Stephanie Radecki.
Radecki, who also coaches USM’s indoor volleyball team, said the relationship with the fans is what makes beach volleyball so great.
“I feel like the crowd feels included because they can be so close to the court and so involved in the action,” Radecki said. “It’s also, it’s a really dynamic, explosive, exciting sport. There’s a lot of action, you see a lot of points pretty quickly so it’s pretty fun to watch.”