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Equestrian, Beach Volleyball Coming to UC Davis’ Women’s Athletic Program

DAVIS -- Last week, University of California, Davis announced it is adding equestrian and beach volleyball to its women's intercollegiate athletic program for the 2018-2019 school year.

The additions ensure that the Aggies continue to meet the Title IX requirements by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. They will bring the total number of women's sports programs at the university to 16.

"The beach volleyball program is really going to help our indoor program and for equestrian, again, a natural collaboration with the College of Ag, College of Vet-Med, as well as the equestrian center already on campus. So it really does seem to be a natural fit," said Associate Athletic Director Anissa Nachman.

Beach volleyball is a natural fit at UC Davis as well. Most schools that play in the Big West Conference, like the Aggies, already have it as a women's sport. Their causeway rival Sacramento State also has beach volleyball.

"So, it's the fastest growing, emerging sports in the NCAA," said Dan Conners, director of volleyball at the university.

Conners said a number of his indoor players will cross over and compete in the spring, on the sand for the Aggies.

"There are some kids out there that are only looking at schools that have the opportunity to play both," Conners told FOX40. "So it will open up that recruiting pool for us."

Equestrian is a bit more established on campus. The university already boasts a solid club team, which has been competing at a lower collegiate level.

The recruiting challenge is also double since the sport needs both riders and horses.

"Horses are typically donated or loaned to programs. So, getting both the riders as well as the horses at the same time will obviously be a lot of work," Nachman said.

The plan is to begin operations for both equestrian and beach volleyball over the summer by hiring coaches and additional staff. Then in late fall, equestrian will begin play on an abbreviated schedule, with beach volleyball doing the same come the spring of 2019.

Both new programs are looking for donations to help get things off the ground. If you can help you're asked to contact the Athletic Department at UC Davis.