USAV Beach HP Athletes Sign Letters of Intent

Nov. 10, 2011, 6:15 p.m. (ET)

B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: (719) 228-6800

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Nov. 10, 2011) – Nine athletes from USA Volleyball’s Beach High Performance Program signed letters of intent to play sand volleyball for universities with NCAA Division I programs this week.

Sand volleyball has been officially recognized by NCAA Division I and II schools as an emerging sport for women, effective August 2010 for Division II and August 2011 for Division I. The nine players who signed letters this week will begin playing for their schools in the fall of 2012.

“Witnessing all of these players mature as solid athletes and wonderful representatives of USA Volleyball over the years is one of the perks of my job,” USA Volleyball Director of Beach Programs Ali Wood Lamberson said. “We are very proud of their achievements and look forward to following them and supporting them throughout their NCAA sand careers and beyond.”

Tulane University in New Orleans has signed Courtney Liddle (Springhill, Fla.), Jackie Wegner (Clearwater, Fla.), Sophie Asprey (Flower Mound, Texas) and Mackenzie Moore (Arlington, Texas). All four have attended USAV Beach High Performance A2 camps in 2010 and/or 2011 and participated in the 2011 Beach High Performance Championships.

Wegner and Moore also participated in a 2010 beach volleyball bilateral exchange with Russia organized by the U.S. State Department.

Georgia State in Atlanta has signed Jansen Button (Menifee, Calif.) and Milani Pickering (Mesa, Ariz.).  Button was on the U.S. Under-19 training team in 2011 and also competed at the 2011 Beach HP Championships. Pickering attended the 2010 and 2011 USAV HP Beach Camps and also the 2011 Beach HP Championships. Pickering was also part of the bilateral exchange with Russia.

Florida State University in Tallahassee has picked up Nina Pellitteri (Pompano, Fla.), Julie Brown (Geneva, Fla.) and Kayla Joyce (Geneva, Fla.). All three players competed at the 2011 Beach HP Championships.

These nine athletes join eight other USAV HP Beach athletes who are already training with NCAA DI sand programs.

Players at the University of Southern California include Geena Urango (Los Alamitos, Calif.), who competed at the 2011 World University Games and the 2011 HP Championships; Kati Duddridge (Santa Ana, Calif.) who attended a 2011 HP A2 camp and competed at the HP Championships 2011 and Kelly Irvin (Pacific Palisades, Calif.), a member of the 2006 U19 Beach National Team who finished ninth at the FIVB Youth World Championships.

Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., features Caitlin Racich (Santa Barbara, Calif.), a member of the 2011 U21 Beach National Team and winner of the 2011 USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge.

Florida State’s sand volleyball team includes Jace Pardon (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) a member of the 2011 U19 training team (A1) in 2011 who competed at the HP Championships; Stephanie Pellitteri (Pompano, Fla.) and Aurora Newgard (Groveland, Fla.), who were members of the 2011 U21 training team (A1) and Jessica McGregor (Groveland, Fla.), a member of the Florida Regional Beach HP Team and competitor at the 2011 Beach HP Championships.

Stetson University in DeLand, Fla., boasts Alexa Stonish (Stony Brook, N.Y.), who attended the 2011 HP A2 Camp and HP Championships as well as the exchange with Russia.

USAV Beach High Performance programs are offered to male and female athletes ages 12-25.  Tryouts dates for 2012 Beach HP programs will be announced soon.