MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The first-year Huntingdon beach volleyball team will get its first taste of competition this weekend.
The Hawks will make their debut in Gulf Shores on Saturday in the Spring Hill Tournament.
"The girls are really excited to play," Huntingdon coach Latonia Brady said. "Especially, transitioning from a fall sport to a spring sport and having almost two months of practice, the girls are hungry to play and compete against someone else. We're ready to get started."
Huntingdon will open the Spring Hill Tournament against Division I University of New Orleans at noon on Saturday and will play Division I Jacksonville State University at 2 p.m. On Sunday, Huntingdon is scheduled to play Division II Eckerd College at 11 a.m. and Division I Austin Peay at 2 p.m.
"With only three Division III teams in the country, we know we're stepping up in competition level," Brady said. "This weekend, we're going to see Division I and Division II programs. That's exciting because this will be our first chance to see what we're going to be facing this season and see how we need to adjust.
"I'm excited to see how we respond this weekend. With the competition we're playing, it's going to be challenging and I want to see what the girls are going to do and how they're going to react and adjust once the match has started."
Brady said she has seen considerable development in her team during the preseason. She said Audrianna Hargitt, Shelby Young, Bria Rochelle and Alexis Creasman have emerged as four of the team's leaders.
"Our No. 1 pair is Audrianna and Shelby, which is an interesting combination," Brady said. "Audrianna is our best indoor player, but has never played beach before this year. Shelby is our most experienced beach player and was our libero during the indoor season. So, we're taking our best offensive player and our best defensive player and putting them together. We think they should be a very competitive pair.
"With Bria and Alexis as our No. 2 pair, it's a similar combination to our No. 1 pair. Bria is a really good athlete and a good hitter and Alexis is a strong hitter. We're looking for those top two pairs to set the tone. It's been amazing to see the growth in all five of our pairs. All of them have worked hard and we're seeing progress and development every day."
In beach volleyball, each team competes with five individual teams of two. The five pairs of players each play a best-of-three match. The first two games are to 21 points and the third game, if needed, is to 15 points.
Following this weekend, Huntingdon will host Division III opponents Principia and Stevenson in the Huntingdon College Beach Tournament on March 17-18.