Fans from across the country gather in Gulf Shores for 2023 NCAA Beach Volleyball Championships

The 2023 NCAA Beach Volleyball Championships is underway in Gulf Shores
Published: May. 5, 2023 at 1:38 PM CDT
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GULF SHORES, Ala. (WALA) - The 2023 NCAA Beach Volleyball Championships is underway in Gulf Shores.

The action started this morning with number one seed UCLA in action against Texas A&M Corpus Christi.

And hours before the first serve there was a sea of fans from around the country representing their favorite squads.

“Oh, it’s great man it’s been a couple of years now and the volleyball juniors club that I work with has half a dozen girls playing from these various schools here and I’m really glad to see them play,” Chuck Beimers said.

“Well, we’re very excited. This is our 4th year coming to this event and we’re excited to get it started,” Russ Franklin said.

For fans of the sport, the format looks a little bit different. It’s back to single elimination. And for the second straight year, the number of teams is expanded to 16 instead of 8.

All of these changes set the stage for more excitement and more fans.

“it’s different. A little bit different this year because it’s 16 teams instead of eight. So, we’re expecting to see a lot more people. And it’s great to see enthusiasm and interest in the sport building,” Franklin said.

And for first time spectators interested in making the trip, fans say you’re in for an amazing show.

“Well, they’re going to love it. I can tell you that these girls are amazing, the way they play. Fabulous play.  I can’t believe.  I wish I could do it,” Beimers said.

The tournament will return in 2024 for one more year but according to the NCAA’s website, the games will be moving to California in 2025 and 2026.