This year in Pac-12 beach volleyball
UCLA capped a historic season winning the NCAA Championship for the first time at Gulf Shores, Ala., becoming the first team to claim the crown come through the elimination bracket. The Bruins, who were the No. 1 seed for the first time, as well, defeated fourth-seeded Florida State in the championship dual, 3-1, avenging a loss earlier in the tournament.
The Bruins also claimed their first Pac-12 title, going 4-0 at the Pac-12 Beach Volleyball Championship hosted by Stanford at the Stanford Beach Volleyball Stadium. UCLA knocked off two-time defending league champion USC, 3-1, to take the trophy.
UCLA twins Nicole and Megan McNamara were voted the Pac-12 Pair of the Year by the league’s coaches. The junior duo recorded the most pair wins in the country, finishing the season with a 35-7 record. Nicole was also named the Pac-12 Player of the Year. It is the first time Bruins have claimed the awards. USC’s Tina Graudina was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, playing at the No. 1 position for the Trojans all season with partner Abril Bustamante.
For the second-straight year, UCLA’s Stein Metzger was voted the Pac-12 Coach of the Year by his league peers, leading UCLA to the program’s first conference title, and first No. 1 seed in the Pac-12 Championship and NCAA Championship. The team also won a program-record 40 wins. He was also tabbed the AVCA National Coach of the Year for the second-consecutive year.
The 2018 Pac-12 Championship had the deepest field of the event, to-date. Five teams were ranked in the top 20 heading into the event, making it the most competitive championship in its three-year history. At season’s end, the Bruins were the nation’s top team for the first time, while USC was ranked No. 5 in the final AVCA Coaches poll. CALIFORNIA, STANFORD and ARIZONA were Nos. 12, 13 and 14, respectively. in the DiG polling, the Trojans (No. 4) and Golden Bears (No. 10) were one spot better.
The McNamara’s were named to the NCAA’s All-Tournament team on court one, and Izzy Carey and Megan Muret were all-tournament on court five. USC’s Graudina and Bustamante, along with the McNamara twins were tabbed AVCA All-Americans.
Megan McNamara, UCLA
Nicole McNamara, UCLA
Abril Bustamante, USC
Tina Graudina, USC
Lily Justine, UCLA (honorable mention)
Sarah Sponcil (honorable mention)
AVCA National Coach of the Year
Stein Metzger, UCLA