No. 3 USC Beach Volleyball Set For Four Top-20 Duals This Week
LOS ANGELES – The third-ranked USC beach volleyball team (2-0) will face four top-20 opponents in four days this week. The Women of Troy host No. 6 Cal Poly (3-1) and crosstown rival No. 4 UCLA (2-0) at Merle Norman Stadium on Thursday, March 4. The Mustangs and the Bruins will also play earlier in the day (10 a.m. PT).
On Sunday (March 7) the Women of Troy head to Zuma Beach for the Pepperdine Invite where they face No. 17 Long Beach State (1-1) and archrival Pepperdine (0-2). Last week, the Trojans earned back-to-back home wins over the Waves to open the spring season.
MATCH #3 • Thursday, March 4 • 12:15 p.m. PT
No. 3 USC (2-0) vs. No. 6 Cal Poly (3-1)
Merle Norman Stadium • Los Angeles, Calif.
SERIES HISTORY: USC leads, 3-0 (1.000)
STREAK: Won 3 • LAST 10: 3-0
LAST MEETING: W 4-1 (April 18, 2019 • Merle Norman)
OPPONENT WEBSITE: GoPoly.com
MATCH #4 • Thursday, March 4 • 2:30 p.m. PT
No. 3 USC (2-0) vs. No. 4 UCLA (2-0)
Merle Norman Stadium • Los Angeles, Calif.
SERIES HISTORY: USC leads, 12-11 (.522)
STREAK: Lost 3 • LAST 10: 3-7
LAST MEETING: L 3-2 (March 11, 2020 • Merle Norman)
OPPONENT WEBSITE: UCLABruins.com
2021 PEPPERDINE INVITE
Zuma Beach • Malibu, Calif.
MATCH #5 • Sunday, March 7 • 12 p.m. PT
No. 3 USC (2-0) vs. No. 17 Long Beach State (1-1)
SERIES HISTORY: USC leads, 8-5 (.615)
STREAK: Won 7 • LAST 10: 7-3
LAST MEETING: W 5-0 (April 11, 2019 • Merle Norman)
OPPONENT WEBSITE: LongBeachState.com
MATCH #6 • Sunday, March 7 • 2 p.m. PT
No. 3 USC (2-0) at No. 9 Pepperdine (0-2)
SERIES HISTORY: USC leads, 17-13 (.567)
STREAK: Won 5 • LAST 10: 7-3
LAST MEETING: W 5-0 (Feb. 25, 2021 • Merle Norman)
OPPONENT WEBSITE: PepperdineWaves.com
- USC owns three beach volleyball national championships including the first-ever NCAA title in 2016 (AVCA '15, NCAA '17).
- The Trojans have won three Pac-12 crowns (2016, '17, '19).
- Second-year head coach Dain Blanton took the helm for the defending Pac-12 champions following the retirement of two-time AVCA National Coach of the Year Anna Collier in July 2019.
- USC is ranked No. 3 in the AVCA Coaches Poll. It is the 66th time (of 66) that the Trojans are ranked; USC's 65th time ranked in the top 5.
- The Trojans are 59-9 all-time at Merle Norman Stadium. USC is 11-7 all-time in matches played at Zuma Beach in Malibu, Calif. (2-7 against Pepperdine).
- USC players have received AVCA All-America notice 20 times. The Trojans return All-American Sr. Sammy Slater and All-American Jr. Tina Graudina.
This year, the Trojans welcome back a familiar face in two-time AVCA All-American and 2019 DiG Magazine National Player of the Year Tina Graudina. Graudina spent the 2020 season away from the team to prepare for the Olympic Games after she qualified to represent her native Latvia. The Women of Troy also welcome graduate transfers Julia Scoles and Bo Chulo and bring in a six-athlete freshman class.
USC returns junior All-American Sammy Slater and senior Haley Hallgren. Graduates Hailey Harward and Joy Dennis also return to the sand after the COVID stoppage. Olympic gold medalist Dain Blanton guides the defending Pac-12 champion in his second season as the Trojans' head coach.
LAST TIME OUT: After a long 350-day wait, USC returned to action and opened the 2021 season as host to archrival Pepperdine at Merle Norman Stadium. All-American Tina Graudina returned to the collegiate game and paired with All-American Sammy Slater to help the Women of Troy earn two victories. USC defeated the ninth-ranked Waves, 4-1, in the first match of the doubleheader and then racked up a 5-0 win in the second. It was the Trojans' first-ever 5-0 victory against their longtime rival and was also the first time that either team completed the 5-0 sweep without dropping a single set in the dual. Sophomore twin sisters Audrey Nourse and Nicole Nourse delivered two straight-set wins to extend their winning streak from 2020 to 10 straight matches.
NOTE: All home USC beach volleyball competitions at Merle Norman Stadium will be conducted in accordance with the Pac-12 COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee health and safety recommendations and guidelines, available at Pac-12.com/health.
For more information on the USC beach volleyball team, a complete schedule, and results, please visit USCTrojans.com/beach. Fans of the Women of Troy can follow the team on Instagram and on Twitter @USCBeach.