At the University of Arizona, we all know the biggest sports are football and basketball. The crowds are loud, the venues are filled and the best recruits come to the school for these sports. The women’s basketball team is playing in the NCAA tournament this year and congratulations to them for breaking the 16-year drought.
Every team deserves recognition for what they do, regardless of their record. One team, however, has not received much recognition. They have a record of 10-2. They play multiple matches in a day and still dominate their opponents. This team serves and spikes balls over a net with a primary setter and a primary hitter.
It is not the Arizona volleyball team because they play on hardwood. This team plays on sand.
It is the Arizona beach volleyball team, or as they are known, the Sand Cats.
It is difficult to know how great this team is because almost all their matches will not be televised or even streamed online. For a team as good as this, it is shocking to find out that nobody can view the matches.
Even live stats will not be provided, which means there is no way to watch this team. Not only does this harm the promotion of the sport, but it harms the players. Some of the Sand Cats may want to continue in the professional circuit or go as far as the Olympics. Scouts will need to see the matches to find talent, and unless scouts attend the matches, there is no way any of these ladies will get the best opportunity possible.
One of these Sand Cats is fifth-year senior Carly Lowry. Lowry is a Tucson native who originally played at the University of San Francisco. While in San Francisco, she was a member of one of the most successful pairs for the beach volleyball squad. Lowry had a record of 10-2 last year before COVID-19 shut everything down. This year Lowry currently holds a pairs record of 7-1.
There are a total of five Sand Cats who are from Tucson including Lowry, sophomores Alex Parkhurst and Summer McDonough and freshmen Abby Russell and Miranda Erro. It is a shame to have so many hometown athletes, and the community is unable to see them.
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To make matters worse, UA teams with worse records and NCAA bans will have their events televised. The men’s basketball team had all their games televised, and yet, no matter how good they were their season was going to end early because of a cheating scandal.
The football team had all their games televised, and they did not win one of them. They even received a primetime spot on ESPN against rival Arizona State, and they lost 70-7. The argument can be made that these events will bring in more money, but what does it say to those athletes who have worked hard and the coaches who are not accused of cheating?
As a university, you want to showcase the best of your school. It is what helps students and athletes decide where they want to attend college. The Sand Cats are currently one of the best teams in the country. Sadly, many people do not know that.
The UA should change that.
Stream their games, post about them on the university social media accounts, send a school-wide email promoting them. These ladies have worked hard to establish a great program at the UA and they should be rewarded for their talent and dedication. They chose to come to this school for a reason. These ladies felt this was the best place for them to showcase their talents and get a great education. While they are receiving a great education, their talents are not being showcased for a big enough audience.
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