UNCW women’s beach volleyball team gears up for first tournament

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — UNCW’s beach volleyball team is hitting the sand hard before tournament play.

Amy Bambenek, head coach of the indoor and beach volleyball teams, said with most of the team coming from indoor volleyball they have to make some adjustments. But the she said they are making progress.

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“I already feel that our team is a lot tougher. Mental toughness is a big thing at our level,” said Bambenek. “In the next three weeks there will be a lot of coach evaluation on the players to kind of see who can maybe step up and see who deserves to be a part of the competitive squad.”

Bambenek said the team is mostly made up of players from this season’s CAA Championship team but there are some people new to UNCW.

Bethany Gesell, a graduate student, said having this new program is giving her another chance to play after finishing her indoor eligibility at East Tennessee State.

“We’re getting to the point now where we are super competitive and now we’re really going at it,” said Gesell. “So far this semester we have really been working our butts off everyday and really making sure that we are where we need to be.”

Freshman Katie McCullough was a member of UNCW’s CAA Championship indoor volleyball team this season. She said beach volleyball has some different challenges compared to playing on the hardwood.

“The biggest difference just the amount of people. You just have two people on the court. There’s just so much more communication that’s needed just between you and your partner,” said McCullough. “Even being a first year program we are working hard to show people that we aren’t newbies and we have a lot of power that schools might not expect from us.”

The Seahawks hit the road next month to Stetson University in Florida for their first tournament. The Seahawks will have just one local tournament this season in April.