UCLA, USC compete for NCAA beach volleyball title
SAN FRANCISCO - USC and UCLA are headed to the NCAA Championship for the fourth-consecutive year. The Trojans are the top overall seed in the tournament with defending national champion UCLA garnering the No. 2 seed. The eight-team, double-elimination tournament takes place at Gulf Shores Public Beach in Gulf Shores, Ala., May 3-5.
Joining the two Pac-12 teams in the field are No. 3-seed Florida State, No. 4-seed Pepperdine, No. 5-seed LSU, No. 6-seed Cal Poly, No. 7-seed Hawai’i and No. 8-seed Stetson.
ESPN Network will televise the three-day championship, the first day on ESPNU beginning at 7 a.m. PT. Saturday’s duals will be covered on ESPN and ESPN2. Sunday’s elimination bracket final at 7:30 a.m. PT will be on ESPN2 with the champion crowned at 11 a.m. PT on ESPN. Additionally, streaming coverage of every court throughout the tournament will be available on ESPN3.
The Trojans (28-4) earned the No. 1 seed and a No. 1 national ranking after winning the Pac-12 Championship for the third time in four years. USC went 4-0 in the championship to claim the crown after three days of competition. Three of its four losses this season are to teams in the NCAA Championship. USC is led by the nation’s top pair of Abril Bustamante and Tina Graudina, who have combined for a 61-4 all-time record, fourth best in Trojan history.
The Bruins were the No. 1 team in the country all season until this week. Boasting a 31-3 record, UCLA has posted a third-straight 30-win season. Its three losses have come to USC, two of them coming last week at the Pac-12 Championship were the Bruins fell by a score of 3-2. UCLA is led by the McNamara twins, Nicole and Megan. Last year’s national pair of the year, the duo are the third-ranked pair in the nation this season having posted a 28-4 record and 87.5 winning percentage. Last year, the Bruins became the first team to win the national championship coming out of the elimination bracket, the program’s first NCAA title in the sport.
USC’s Graudina was tabbed the Pac-12 Player of the Year, as voted on by the league’s coaches, and the duo of Bustamante and Graudina were voted the Pac-12 Pair of the Year. Collier was voted the Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the first time, while CALIFORNIA’s Jordan Polo was selected the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, the first Golden Bear to earn the honor. The McNamara’s were also tabbed All-Pac-12 while USC freshman Mollie Ebertin earned a spot on the All-Freshman team.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
|DATE||EVENT||TIME (Local to site)||TELEVISION|
|Fri., May 3||Championship opening rounds||7 a.m. PT/9 a.m. CT||ESPNU|
|Sat., May 4||Play continues||11 a.m. PT/1 p.m. CT||ESPN2|
|Winners bracket final||1 p.m. PT/3 p.m. CT||ESPN|
|Sun., May 5||Elimination bracket final||7:30 a.m. PT/9:30 a.m. CT||ESPN2|
|Championship dual||11 a.m. PT/1 p.m. CT||ESPN|