This year in Pac-12 beach volleyball

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UCLA avenged its Pac-12 Championship loss going 4-0 at the NCAA Championship and upsetting top-seeded USC in an all-Pac-12 final, 3-0, to win back-to-back beach volleyball national titles. In the four years of the NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship, USC (2016, 2017) and the Bruins are the only two teams to have ever claimed the trophy.

The top seed in the NCAA Championship for the second time in the history of the event, the Trojans were upset in the first dual but dominated in the elimination bracket to get to the championship bout before falling to the second-seeded Bruins. That was a week after USC defeated top-seeded and then-top ranked UCLA twice at the Pac-12 Championship, 3-2. The Trojans knocked off the defending Conference champion Bruins, hosting the league tournament for the second time at Norman Merle Stadium.

The Bruins and the Trojans were the Nos. 1 and 2 teams, respectively, in the AVCA Coaches poll all season except the week of April 29, heading into the NCAA Championship where USC briefly took over the top spot and UCLA was at No. 2. After earning its first-ever top-10 national ranking in the national coaches poll, No. 11 CALIFORNIA is in the final polling for the second-straight year, registering multiple wins over top-10 programs for the first time this season, while No. 20 ARIZONA STATE entered the poll for the first time ever after posting a record number of team wins this year. No. 13 ARIZONA is in the final top 15 for the fourth-consecutive year.

USC’s Anna Collier was voted the AVCA National Coach of the Year for the second time in her career and the first time since 2014. Four pairs and nine individuals from the Conference received national recognition, including UCLA’s pairs of Megan and Nicole McNamara, and Lily Justine and Sarah Sponcil, and USC’s duos of Abril Bustamante and Tina Graudina, and Terese Cannon and Sammy Slater. Cal’s Mima Mirkovic was an honorable mention All-American.

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.

AVCA RANK DiG
UCLA 1 UCLA
USC 2 USC
LSU 3 LSU
Florida State 4 Florida State
Hawai’i 5 Hawai’i
Stetson 6 Pepperdine
Pepperdine 7 Stetson
Cal Poly 8 Cal Poly
FIU 9 Loyola Marymount
Loyola Marymount 10 CALIFORNIA
CALIFORNIA 11 FIU
Long Beach St. 12 ARIZONA
ARIZONA 13 Long Beach St.
Grand Canyon 14 Grand Canyon
Gerogia State 15 Georgia State
South Carolina 16 South Carolina
Florida Atlantic 17 TCU
TCU 18 ARIZONA STATE
Saint Mary’s (CA) 19 Saint Mary’s (CA)
ARIZONA STATE 20 Coll. of Charleston

NATIONAL HONORS
AVCA All-Americans
Megan McNamara/Nicole McNamara, UCLA
Lily Justine/Sarah Sponcil, UCLA
Abril Bustamante/Tina Graudina, USC
Terese Cannon/Sammy Slater, USC
Mima Mirkovic, California (HM)

AVCA National Coach of the Year
Anna Collier, USC

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