Fresh sand in the desert: Arizona State debuts beach volleyball facility

The Sun Devils are happy to be back on campus. During this practice, sophomore Jensen Kaelin jumps to block a play by her teammate during their second day of practice at their new facility. (Photo by Susan Wong/Cronkite News)

The team has been able to practice at its new facility but won’t play there until March 8. Here, senior Lauren Weintraub screams when she misses a ball during practice. (Photo by Susan Wong/Cronkite News)

Arizona State freshman Rylie Kael swings at the ball during a serve on Feb. 3. This was the team’s second day of practice at the new digs. (Photo by Susan Wong/Cronkite News)

The Arizona State beach volleyball facility opened its gates on Feb. 2 and is located near ASU’s Farrington Stadium and the soccer/lacrosse fields. (Photo by Susan Wong/Cronkite News)

The new facility features four championship courts that are spaced out to encourage a scrambling style of play and longer rallies. (Photo by Susan Wong/Cronkite News)

Arizona State’s new beach volleyball facilities will also be used for tournaments and intramural play. (Photo by Susan Wong/Cronkite News)

Ken Landphere, the senior associate athletic director of Sun Devil Athletics, said there are plans for future construction adjacent to the court facilities. (Photo by Susan Wong/Cronkite News)

The new facilities are located right on campus in the epicenter of what will be an athletic village in the future. (Photo by Susan Wong/Cronkite News)

The sand used was manufactured to have the same feel as the fine sand on a California beach. Also, the sand is contained in deep basins meaning that it won’t pack down under your feet requiring more effort. (Photo by Susan Wong/Cronkite News)

TEMPE – Since the team’s 2014 inception, Arizona State’s sand volleyball team has played its matches at the Pera Club, a country club-style facility near the Crosscut Canal that is owned by Salt River Project.

This year the team has a home of its own.

ASU’s new sand volleyball facility opened Feb. 2 and is located near Farrington Softball Stadium, east of Rural Road and south of Rio Salado Parkway, on the school’s Tempe campus. The team will compete in its first match on Friday at Grand Canyon University’s Canyon Classic. It won’t play in its new Tempe home until March 8.

Construction on the project started in October “and we’re already out here,” coach Brad Keenan said.

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While it was a quick turnaround, Ken Landphere, a senior associate athletics director at ASU, said much more went into building sand courts than meets the eye. Or bare feet.

The sand used for the ASU courts is a replication of the fine sand found on California beaches. It’s typically smaller in granulation and doesn’t have any lye or powder in it, so it’s very clean, Landphere said.

He also acknowledged that the Sun Devils’ facility is unique in the way the courts have been spread out for safety and style of play.

“We were using this as a recruiting tool as it was being built,” Keenan said. “Now it’s going to be even greater when (athletes visit) on campus, so we can show them the courts and show them it’s for real.”

The courts will also be available for students to use for intramural competition.

Susan Wong soo-zin wah-ong (she/her/hers)
Sports Visual Journalist, Phoenix

Susan Wong expects to graduate in May 2023 with a master’s degree in mass communication. Wong, who earned a bachelor’s in sports journalism in May 2022, is a digital media intern with Sun Devil Athletics.