GSU Beach Volleyball Complex named best in the state of Georgia for the sport

The Beach Volleyball stadium at Georgia State is more unique than other Sunbelt stadiums. Photo by Matt Siciliano-Salazar | The Signal

This month, Volleyball Magazine named Georgia State’s Beach Volleyball Complex the best place to play the sport. 

The closest beach to Atlanta is about 267 miles away, but the trio of courts next to Piedmont Avenue and Decatur Street gives Atlanta a vibe like few other spots in town can.

For the past eight seasons, this fantastic complex has been home to the beach volleyball Panthers.

The Panthers never take the bright and colorful mural for granted, a staple built before the 2019 season.

“The mural adds a splash of color and brightens up our games and practices,” junior Maddy Delmonte said. “I think our mural captures the essence of the city and our sport.”

Delmonte, who made the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association All-Freshman Team in 2019, reflected on how her home court is special to the team.

“I think that our courts are one of the most unique places I have ever played at,” she said. “Being surrounded by buildings while playing a sport ordinarily seen at the beach helps us stand out from the norm. Our courts are super special to all of us, and it’s so cool that we have been recognized as the best place to play in the state.”

Senior Eden Hawes, who played in all 14 games this year with Delmonte by her side, exceeding to a 10-4 record, also reflected on how the GSU beach complex brings the beach into the city of Atlanta.

“This complex offers a view of the capital, city skyscrapers, our own beautiful mural, daily waves from the train conductors and a beach to call our own,” Hawes said. “We are honored to have our courts be named the best place to play in Georgia. It gives you a little look into the beach and city life! It truly is the best of both worlds!”

The diversity of culture among Georgia State’s beach volleyball players is something about which not many people know. 

“Our team is made up of women from across the world and different beaches,” Hawes said. “This place is one of the many things that drew us to Atlanta.”

Former Sandy Panther Beth Van Fleet began guiding the Panthers in the 2013-14 season. In the last four seasons, the team posted 20-plus wins.

A pioneer who watched construction for the courts as they began in the summer of 2012, Van Fleet always feels amazed when she thinks about her home court.

“Our beach facility is a one-of-a-kind arena that feels like an oasis in the middle of the city,” Fleet said. “It’s an honor to be named, but it is more exciting to see how much this sport is growing within our community and around the country.”

The Sandy Panthers have not played since March 10 because of COVID-19 cutting their season short, but their 11-3 record paced them for another great season. With great talent and a scenic view for home matches and practices, you can book them to dominate in the upcoming 2021 season.