Posted: 2:04 pm Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

St. Andrew’s volleyball star Taylor Kennedy signs sand volleyball scholarship 

By Jeff Greer

St. Andrew’s senior Taylor Kennedy appears to be a trendsetter in Palm Beach County volleyball. The senior is believed to be the first county volleyball player to sign a Division I sand volleyball scholarship.

She signed this week to play for Stetson University in DeLand this fall.

The NCAA approved women’s sand volleyball as an “emerging sport” in 2009 and is still in the process of implementing the sport throughout the athletics ranks. Stetson’s program will have its first season this coming school year, and its indoor women’s volleyball coach will also coach the sand volleyball team.

The program is so new at Stetson that the school’s athletics website doesn’t even list players, coaches or a schedule. Stetson spokesman Jesse Cazakoff said Wednesday afternoon that some student-athletes will play both indoor and sand volleyball, while others will play one or the other. Kennedy’s scholarship is for sand volleyball. Stetson will give out two sand volleyball scholarships for the 2011-12 team and will increase its scholarship output to three for the 2012-13 season.

Kennedy’s tale has been an adventurous one. She tore her ACL in the first match of her senior season, forcing her to miss the remainder of the year. She had been a varsity player at St. Andrew’s since her freshman year. But after significant rehab, she is fully healthy again, enough to warrant a scholarship offer from Stetson.

“When I first injured my knee, I was concerned that my days of playing competitive volleyball might be over,” Kennedy said in the release announcing her scholarship signing. “But as I began to work on rehabilitating my knee, I realized I loved the sport too much to give up on my hopes of playing collegiate volleyball. I am thankful that (Stetson coach Tim) Loesch has given me the opportunity to live out my dream. I can’t wait to get back on the court and represent Stetson next season.”