MANASQUAN — You may have to trek to California — you know, the other side of the country — to find a beach volleyball league bigger than the operation underway every summer in this Monmouth County shore town.

According to Matt Riccelli, director of the Gee Gee's Summer Volleyball League, a total of 1,700 players flock to the beach on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, June through August, to be part of the "controlled chaos" that has been a Manasquan staple for several years.

"I have to turn people away because we don't have enough nets," Riccelli told New Jersey 101.5.

There are currently more than 160 teams registered. The team fee is $500, but every participant gets a T-shirt and is invited to an end-of-the-season party hosted by the beachfront pizzeria.

After most people have left the beach for the day, 24 volleyball nets are erected on the sand ahead of game time Tuesday, and 22 on Wednesdays. Games begin at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. until August hits. Then games begin a half-hour earlier so players don't lose daylight.

The league is approaching the last week of the regular season. The following week will hold a two-night playoff for teams with the best records. The league is split into multiple divisions based on skill; all but one are co-ed.

"I had no idea it was going to be this big," said first-year player Katie Habermann, of Wall. "But this is so nice, isn't it?"

"Best time of the year — friends getting together. We haven't won a game ever, but we have such a good time and the moral victories are through the roof," joked Neptune Township resident Dan Galvan, who would end up winning the next match he played.

Riccelli said the league has become such an automatic for some players, they build their summer schedules around it. The babysitter is booked for every summer Tuesday, for example, months in advance. Sign-ups, held about two months prior to the first week of play, work on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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