CHARLESTON (WCIA) — Eastern Illinois will welcome a Women’s Beach Volleyball program for the 2021-22 season. The Panthers are now the only Division-I school in the state of Illinois to sponsor a beach program.
For it’s first season, the roster will be made up of current indoor players, along with indoor associate head coach Manolo Concepcion. He will serve as the head coach of the beach program. EIU is now the fourth team in the Ohio Valley Conference to have a beach volleyball team, joining Austin Peay, Morehead State and UT Martin.
“We are excited about the addition of beach volleyball to our athletic department,” said athletic director Tom Michael in a statement. “We have noticed that the programs that have incorporated beach volleyball have increased their success in indoor volleyball as well. This is a great opportunity for our players to get a new college experience while enhancing their overall development as volleyball players. Beach volleyball continues to be an emerging sport at both the NCAA and OVC level and we are happy to be part of that growth.”
Chattanooga competes as an affiliate member in beach volleyball in the OVC which will host the conference championship starting on April 28, 2022.