USC hosts Pac-12 Beach Volleyball Championship this week
The fourth-annual Pac-12 Beach Volleyball Championship takes place at Merle Norman Stadium on the campus of the USC, Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27, featuring one of the strongest fields in the short history of the event with three top-10 ranked teams for the second time. Defending Pac-12 and NCAA Champion UCLA earned the top seed for the second year in a row, based on a coaches vote, and host Trojans are the No. 2 seed.
The Bruins are looking to capture a second-straight Pac-12 crown after being No. 1 in the country all season, boasting a 28-1 record. The second-seeded Trojans look to get back on top of the podium after winning the first two league crowns in 2016 and 2017. USC handed UCLA its only loss of the season earlier this month.
Five of the nine Pac-12 teams are ranked heading into the championship for the second-straight year. After UCLA’s stranglehold on the top position in the poll, USC is No. 2 in both the AVCA and DiG Magazine polls. CALIFORNIA is ranked No. 10 by the coaches, ARIZONA is No. 13 and STANFORD is No. 20. In the DiG polling, the Golden Bears are tied for No. 7 while the Wildcats are No. 15 and ARIZONA STATE is No. 19. In 2016, three Pac-12 teams were ranked in the AVCA’s top 10 heading into the championship.
The No. 3 seed in the championship for the second-straight year, the Bears have knocked off two top-10 opponents this season already as they look to make a strong case for a postseason bid. Cal earned its first-ever top-10 AVCA ranking this week. No. 4-seeded UA is the hottest team in the league, winning its last 14-consecutive duals. No. 5-seed Stanford and No. 7-seeded WASHINGTON are the youngest teams in the Conference carrying eight and 12 underclassmen, respectively, on their respective rosters. ASU is the No. 6 seed, posting a program-record 19 wins this season. UTAH is the No. 8 seed and OREGON is the No. 9 seed. Both have strong contenders at the No. 1 pair.
The championship features some of the nation’s top pairs, including USC’s Tina Graudina and Abril Bustamante, and UCLA’s twins Nicole and Megan McNamara, ranking Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in the country at court one. UA’s Natalie Anselmo and Madison Rigdon are the top pair at court three, going 20-0 this season.
Merle Norman Stadium has three courts with sand from the U.S. Olympic Training Center. It is located on the east side of University Park Campus on Figueroa Street across from Galen Center. Home to the Trojans beach volleyball team, ground was broken for the venue in July 2012.
All of the championship action will be televised live on Pac-12 Network with Anne Marie Anderson, Holly McPeak, Kevin Barnett and Camryn Irwin calling the action over the three days.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
|DATE||EVENT||TIME (Local to site)||Television|
|Thurs., April 25||Championship opening rounds||9 a.m.||Pac-12 Network|
|Fri., April 26||Championship play continues||9 a.m.||Pac-12 Network|
|Sat., April 27||Championship play continues||11 a.m.||Pac-12 Network|
|Champion awards ceremony||3 p.m. (approx.)|
* Full brackets schedule is on pages 3. Times local to site.
Pac-12 Network Spring Championships Viewing Guide on page 7.