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Beverly Oden

October in Review

By October 31, 2012

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October was another eventful month in the sport of volleyball. We saw the NCAA women's season heat up as the bulk of conference play took place. Penn State held the No. 1 spot in the AVCA Coaches poll starting at the end of September and almost managed to hold it for the entire month. But a stumble against Nebraska sent them down to No. 3 in the final poll of October.

In their place is a strong Stanford squad who went from No. 7 at the beginning of the month to No. 1 at the end. Undefeated in Pac-12 play, the young Cardinal squad is showing some serious determination and fight.

Also this month, we saw the first democratically elected president of the FIVB. Ary Graša beat out USAV CEO Doug Beal for the job in an election that left some questions about the process and the future. We'll keep an eye out for what Graša has planned for the international volleyball community.

Beach volleyball held its last event of 2012 and it was won by London silver medalists Jen Kessy and April Ross. New partnerships abound, some top players are entering retirement and things should look very different for 2013.

As the season drew to a close we found out that the former AVP Tour owner Nick Lewin and his company decided to drop the lawsuit against USAV, Manhattan Beach and IMG for copyright infringement among other things. This could mean we have seen the last of Lewin and that the old world of beach volleyball is officially behind us. New AVP owner Donald Sun can move on with a clean slate into his first full year of tournaments in 2013.

Speaking of moving on, sand volleyball for women at the collegiate level is changing things for that sport. It is growing exponentially and could see an official NCAA Championship as early as 2016. With the number of schools participating doubling in just one year, Kathy DeBoer of the AVCA says that the sport is ready to hit the next level.

It is still a struggle on the men's side though. With fewer programs available for boys, we saw the fight of one New York boy to play on the girl's team at his high school. The boy was told he could not play because he was too strong. He fought it and lost, but will continue to appeal.

Lastly, I was honored to attend a celebration at Stanford to commemorate our team's very first national championship 20 years ago. Here's a little trip down memory lane from my most favorite volleyball victory.

In November, we will turn all of our attention to the NCAA women as they make their way through the last few games of the regular season and into the playoffs. This should be a very tightly contested national title with several teams showing that they have what it takes to contend for the 2012 title. This one is going to be a dog fight.

Keep checking in at About.com for the latest in volleyball news and developments.

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