Summer Ross, the celebrated junior beach volleyball player from Carlsbad, Calif., has decided to transfer to Pepperdine University after spending her freshman year playing indoor volleyball at University of Washington. With the NCAA’s approval of sand volleyball as a varsity collegiate sport and Washington’s decision not to create a team, Ross found she just couldn’t stay.
The beach has always been where Ross’s heart resided, and for good reason. In her 2010 junior sand season, Ross became the first athlete, male or female, to win both the FIVB Youth World Championships (with University of Hawaii freshman all-star Jane Croson) and the FIVB Junior World Championships (with former University of Houston setter Tara Roenicke) in the same year. She was also named the 2010 USA Volleyball Female Beach Player of the Year and was the first junior player to receive the honor.
At Pepperdine, Ross will be playing for head coach Nina Matthies, a former beach player once recognized as one of the best players in the world before her retirement in 1992, and assistant coach Marcio Sicoli, who has coached Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor, along with Holly McPeak, Casey Jennings, and Matt Fuerbringer.
Joining Ross on the team will be Caitlin Racich, along with several other members of the 2011 Pepperdine Elite 8 indoor team. Ross says she isn’t ruling out indoor volleyball completely, but she just couldn’t miss out on the unique opportunity of participating in collegiate sand volleyball’s first season. Summer and the rest of her teammates begin play in March.
Originally published in March/April 2012