ESPL North Carolina Recap

The 2nd annual ESPL North Carolina – Southern Sand Classic  was held the weekend prior to Thanksgiving. Featuring 60 teams from 4 states (NC, VA, MD, and TX) across 18U, 16U and 14U age groups, the event served as a 2-day kick-off for winter jr beach tournaments for several clubs that offer year-round beach volleyball programs for teams.

Competition continues to rise as more players focused on sand continue to train and develop during most of the year now. In particular, the 18U Gold playoffs featured several tight matches including a 3 set final where Jordan Lackey/Ashlyn Pope of 692 Beach in Dallas, Texas came out on top over Sarah Nacouzi/Raquel Rooney from Southern Sand Volleyball in Apex, NC. Click here for a complete list of results across all divisions.

Some photos and finalist pics can be found on the Southern Sand Facebook page as well.

We also want to extend a special thanks to this event’s sponsors which included Marriott, Spalding, and Vital Sports.

2016 Powerade State Games Back in Triangle

North Carolina’s largest multi-sport festival and one of the largest State Games programs in the United States will return to the Triangle area in June 2016. Southern Sand Volleyball will play host for the sand volleyball competitions on the following weekends:

  • June 4-5, 2016: Junior Competitions (2 v 2 format)
    • Sat – Girls 12U and 16U; Boys 14U
    • Sun – Girls 14U and 18U; Boys 18U
  • June 11-12, 2016: Adult Competitions (2 v 2)
    • Sat – Men’s and Women’s Divisions (AA, A, BB)
    • Sun – Coed Divisions (AA, B, BB) plus Adult/Junior Divisions

Visit the Powerade State Games website for more details about all the competitions.



USA Beach Announces Initial 2016 Tour Schedule Including Carolina Grand Slam

The 6th edition of the Carolina Grand Slam will be held on May 14-15, 2016 as part of the 2016 USA Junior Beach Volleyball Tour. The 2016 USA Beach tour championships will be held in Milwaukee, WI, which hosted the event in 2013 and 2014 as well. The 2015 tour championships were held in VA Beach.

In 2015, close to 150 teams attended the Carolina Grand Slam, the largest ever for the event, from 5 states participating at 3 venues in Apex and Cary. As a Grand Slam, up to 5 bids per age group are offered for the tour championships.

In years past, several of the bid earners from the Carolina Grand Slam have gone on to participate well at the tour championships, including the 2014 Girls 16U National Champions – Kylie Grandy and Jenna Simpkins.

Full results from last year’s event can be viewed at

Local College Student Makes USA U23 Beach National Team

     Duke University volleyball player, Christina Vucich, has recently been selected to be part of the USA U23 Beach National Team. Vucich, who has trained at Southern Sand at various times of the year since Southern Sand formed, is training this summer with the national team out in California. The national team practices twice a week under the direction of Anna Collier, who is also the sand volleyball coach at University of Southern California. Christina PhotoVucich and the rest of the national will competed at the USA Beach High Performance Championships in Hermosa Beach on July 15-16. Additionally, two doubles teams will represent the group at an international NORCECA qualifier.  Congratulations Christina!!!

For more information about the USA national beach teams, visit

Local Junior Heading to UNCW for Indoor/Sand Programs

Another Southern Sand college commitment to announce. Katie McCullough, a member of Southern Sand’s Top Performer’s Program and a Free Agent during our Year Round Program , has verbally committed to UNC Wilmington’s indoor and sand volleyball programs. UNCW is a DI program located in Wilmington, NC, and Katie is a senior at Middle Creek High School in Raleigh. Katie’s focus has been indoor volleyball, at Triangle Volleyball Club, and she participated in our training programs when her busy schedule allowed. Although Katie had many top beach tournament finishes, the biggest highlight was her 3rd place finish at the 2014 USAV Nationals held in Milwaukee. Her dedication to both indoor and sand volleyball has put her in a position to compete at the NCAA DI level. Congratulations Katie – well deserved!!!

Local Junior Sand Player Heading to College of Charleston

Another Southern Sand college commitment to announce. Katja Ehlers, a member of Southern Sand’s Top Performer’s Program and a Free Agent during the current Year Round Program , has verbally committed to College of Charleston’s indoor and sand volleyball programs. College of Charleston is a DI program located in Charleston, SC, and Katja is a junior at Broughton High School in Raleigh. Katja’s focus has been indoor volleyball, at Triangle Volleyball Club, and she participated in our training programs when her busy schedule allowed. She is another perfect example of a focused athlete, whose dedication to both indoor and sand volleyball has put her in a position to compete at the NCAA DI level. Congratulations Katja!!!

2015 Seasonal Juniors Training Programs Announced

Registration for Southern Sand’s Seasonal Training programs (April-July time period) are NOW open. Click on any of the program links listed below for more details and registration:

  • Beach Club Programs – For the athlete looking for a full club experience, training and competing together over a 4 month period.
    • Focused Beach Program – for the athlete focused mostly or exclusively on beach
    • Cross-Training Program – for the athlete mixing both indoor club volleyball and beach programs.
  • Super Juniors – For athletes ages 8-14 who are new to the beach game looking to get a primer on the sport. Two levels offered based on overall volleyball experience on a monthly basis starting in March.
  • Conditioning/Jump Training For the athlete looking for focused conditioning and jump training in the sand.


Looking for just play? Spring Leagues (April-May) will be open for registration starting on  March 2nd.


Want to learn more? We will be offering our next Q/A online session for all of our seasonal programs as follows:

Sunday, March 8, 2015 at 8-9PM

Dial-in Number: 213-416-1560 | Attendee PIN: 245 4593#
Web Login:

If have any immediate questions, send an email to John.

NCAA elevates Sand Volleyball as championship sport

Jan 17, 2015

Division II and Division III approved sand volleyball as a championship Saturday at the 2015 NCAA Convention, allowing it to advance from the emerging sports for women list to become a full-fledged NCAA championship in Spring 2016.

Sand volleyball, which was approved to become a championship by Division I in October, will be the 90th NCAA championship.

Plans are in place to put together a six-person sand volleyball committee by late February or early March, which will set parameters for selection, bracketing, and seeding for the national collegiate championship.

The NCAA hopes to identify host sites for this new championship by fall 2015. It is anticipated that the championship will occur in early May each year.

“We are thrilled to have sand volleyball as the next NCAA championship,” said Damani Leech, managing director of NCAA championships and alliances. “The sport is growing rapidly across our membership, as well as at the professional and Olympic levels. We look forward to helping steward the continued growth of this sport and provide deserving student-athletes a tremendous championship experience.”

Full Article…

Inaugural ESPL Winter Oasis Tourney Huge Success

Under mostly sunny skies with highs in the upper 70s and low 80s, the inaugural ESPL Winter Oasis Beach Tournament was contested on Jan 2-3 at Hickory Point Beach in Tavares, FL.  The facility, a sand volleyball enthusiast’s dream, featuring 21 courts of soft, white sand, opened up in July 2014 through a cooperative effort between Florida Region/USAV and Lake County. Southern Sand Volleyball played the role of tournament host for the event. The tournament had a national-level competition vibe to it, featuring 54 teams from several beach clubs and states, including Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Ohio.

Top finishers in each age group were:

Girls 18U –Morgan Dees/Kali Jones
Girls 16U – Brook Bauer/Ava Richards
Girls 14U – Aly Freeland/Kelsey Mead

Top finishers from Southern Sand included a 3rd place by Kim Hovey/Katie McCullough in 18U, a 5th place by Jordan McKinney/Savannah Siegrist in 16U, and a 7th place by Rhea Ramkumar/Emily Fetter in 14U.

In addition to a 2 day competition between individual teams in 14U, 16U, and 18U, a club competition was introduced where Ohio Valley Beach with the best overall performance by its teams earned a 2015 ESPL Winter Oasis Banner with ‘Jr Club Champions’ written on it.

The nearby Mission Inn served as host hotel, featuring a pool party event in the evening after Day 1’s competition and providing lunch concessions both days at the tournament site. Participants and planners are already looking forward to the event becoming an annual event as most seek a “winter oasis” during the heart of winter.

Thanks to everyone that came out to either participate in the event or help support it!

Southern Sand’s First Athletes to Accept Scholarship Offers – Brynn Carrick and Lauren Durham

More great news from Southern Sand. We have our first sand scholarship offers, and acceptances, for Lauren Durham (left  photo) and Brynn Carrick (right photo). Both will attend Stetson University, Lauren starting in 2015 and Brynn starting in 2017, and be part of their Sand Volleyball team. Lauren is a senior at Middle Creek High School and Brynn is a Sophomore at Wakefield High School, both located in Raleigh. Stetson is a DI program located in DeLand, Florida between Daytona Beach and Orlando. Both of these ladies are great examples of the hard work and dedication that we see at Southern Sand. Both of them have dedicated themselves to beach volleyball. Their hard work during training, in the classroom, and throughout the recruiting process has certainly paid off. We are so excited for them both, and look forward to seeing them grow even further. CONGRATULATIONS to both Lauren and Brynn!!!