TCU and Southern Mississippi are set to join the CCSA in the 2018-2019 academic year. Photo by Alexa Hines

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All 21 TCU Division I sports will have a conference once the beach volleyball team joins the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association (CCSA) next fall. The beach volleyball team has competed as a non-conference team since it began in 2015.

The addition of TCU and the University of Southern Mississippi will bring the CCSA’s count to 12 teams.

Joining the CCSA, will give the Horned Frogs stronger competition for next season. In the future, the NCAA hopes to give automatic bids to the NCAA championships for conference champions.

“It’s awesome to see where the program has gone, especially since I’ve been here from the beginning,”  senior captain Jillian Bergeson said. “To see now that all our hard work and effort is coming to flourish, and we get to join a conference. The competition is getting better. It’s awesome for TCU.”

The Horned Frogs missed their chance to play in the NCAA beach volleyball championships last year with a No. 13 finish. This year, the team is still looking to compete for a title in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

“Our goal is to try and get a bid through the regular season,” head coach Hector Gutierrez said. “But for me personally, as a coach, I want the girls to compete as best they can.”

Gutierrez isn’t new to the CCSA, before he joined the Horned Frogs as head coach in November 2016, he was an assistant coach for Florida State. He helped guide the team to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA and a runner-up finish. A future in conference competitor next season.

“It’s weird to coach and compete against an ex-team,” Gutierrez said. “It’s a good opportunity for us to see where we are at. We’re fortunate we can go there and play them.”

Gutierrez said he’s grateful for the effort from indoor volleyball head coach Jill Kramer and associate athletics director Kim Johnson that led to the invitation.

“We say thank you to everybody who has helped us,” Gutierrez said. “We’re really thankful and excited about what is going to happen.”