Bryant & Stratton beach volleyball charting new territory in Wisconsin athletics

WAUWATOSA -- When you think of sports in Wisconsin, you probably think of the big ones -- football, baseball and basketball. One of them, you might not think of -- beach volleyball.

Bryant & Stratton College in Wauwatosa is charting new territory for collegiate sports in Wisconsin, offering beach volleyball in a place better known for bitter-cold winters and soggy spring weather.

"I was like, 'Beach volleyball in the midwest? That sounds like, I don't know, nonsense,'" said player Valeria Rodriguez.

In its first season, the Bobcats' program is bringing together student-athletes from the group up and competing against more established teams.

"We haven't been playing with our partners for very long. We're going up against these four-year colleges, juniors, seniors, probably play competitively, got brought to these colleges specifically for beach volleyball," said player Ashley Weimann, a Sheboygan native. "We're kind of just being there. We're not getting blown out, we're putting up a good fight."

While the fledgling squad is the first of its kind in Wisconsin, some of the team members traveled a long way to play.

"Half the team is Puerto Rican, so a lot of them have played beach before," Weimann said.

For those players hoping to stay closer to home, beach volleyball at Bryant & Stratton provides a unique opportunity.

"The girls love volleyball and, in the spring, what are they going to play? Because there's not college volleyball anymore," said coach Heather Curley. "Now they get to play collegiate volleyball two seasons versus just the indoor."

It's part of an overall commitment to expanding athletics at the college.

Unfortunately, the last two tournaments of the year the Bobcats planned to attend have been canceled, but the team will return for its second season next year.