By Pristine Tompkin | Updated March 10, 2016
For the first time since women’s water polo was implemented in 1996, a new sport has been added to the Riverside City College athletic department.
That sport happens to be beach volleyball.
Jamie Hofman was named head coach for beach volleyball, by indoor volleyball head coach Monica Hayes-Trainer, making it her first collegiate head coaching job.
“I am really excited to coach the first season of sand volleyball at RCC,” Hofman said. “Especially because (beach) volleyball is a sport that is growing and gaining popularity at every level.”
Hofman is the assistant for Hayes-Trainer in indoor volleyball, and now for beach volleyball the roles have flipped.
She also said there was a big incentive in making beach volleyball a women’s varsity sport.
“I know that there is such a huge interest in volleyball itself,” Hofman said. “ By adding (beach) volleyball, we knew that there would be a strong following right away and a desire to help this sport and its athletes grow.”
The addition of this sport helps RCC comply with Title IX requirements, giving 15-20 female student-athletes an opportunity to play another sport, according to interim athletic director Jim Wooldridge.
One of those student-athletes is freshman Lauren Wells who said that with beach volleyball she is able to play the game and reunite with teammates sooner rather than later, since indoor volleyball doesn’t start back up until the fall.
Teammate Melissa Moe said she is glad the sport has finally been introduced.
“To me having (beach) added was a great accomplishment for the volleyball program,” Moe said. “I know my coaches have been trying to make things happen with it for a while and so it’s great we got it.”
She added how important it is to demonstrate to the community that the sport is here to stay.
“We are definitely working hard not only for ourselves and coaches, but also to prove people how much adding sand means to us,” she said.
The biggest difference between beach volleyball and indoor volleyball is the amount of players in the match.
For indoor volleyball, there are six players on each side of the net, while in beach volleyball, there are teams of only two players.
Hofman said that beach volleyball already has a strong following and the team has adjusted well to the change.
“To have it at RCC is a testament of how RCC is looking to improve and gain knowledge and respect from other schools as well as the community,” she said. “The girls have all dove head first into learning the game and have improved so much.”
The lack of appropriate practice area on campus has led the team to practice at Andulka Park throughout the week, and hosted its first scrimmage there March 1 against San Bernardino Valley College.
On March 4, the Tigers took on San Diego City College in their first match of the regular season, where they defeated the Knights, 6-4.
The Tigers are scheduled to take on Fullerton College on March 11 at Cypress College.