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USC Beach Volleyball Hosts Eastern Powers in Four-Dual Home Stand

Mar 30, 2021

LOS ANGELES – The USC beach volleyball team (12-0) returns to home sand to host four duals with the top teams from the East. The Women of Troy take on No. 2-ranked Florida State (21-0) on Saturday (April 3) and then face No. 3 LSU (16-2) on Sunday (April 4). It is the first visit to Merle Norman Stadium for the Tigers, but the Seminoles will play their sixth and seventh duals on the Trojans' home turf. USC is 3-2 at home against FSU, but the Seminoles are one of just four teams ever to beat the Trojans at Merle Norman Stadium.
MATCH #13 • Saturday, April 3 10:30 a.m. PT
MATCH #14 • Saturday, April 3 1 p.m. PT
No. 1 USC (12-0) vs. No. 2 Florida State (21-0)
Merle Norman Stadium • Los Angeles, Calif.
SERIES HISTORY: USC leads, 12-4 (.750)
STREAK: Won 4 • LAST 10: 9-1
LAST MEETING: W 3-2 (Mar. 1, 2020 • Hilton Head, S.C.)
TV/STREAM: USC Live Stream (Paul Duchesne)

MATCH #15 • Sunday, April 4 10:30 a.m. PT
MATCH #16 • Sunday, April 4 1 p.m. PT
No. 1 USC (12-0) vs. No. 3 LSU (16-2)
Merle Norman Stadium • Los Angeles, Calif.
SERIES HISTORY: USC leads, 3-1 (.750)
STREAK: Won 2 • LAST 10: 3-1
LAST MEETING: W 3-2 (May 5, 2019 • Gulf Shores, Ala.)
TV/STREAM: USC Live Stream (Paul Duchesne)


  • 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 in July 2019 and is 18-5 overall.
  • USC is ranked No. 1 in the AVCA Coaches Poll. It is the 70th time (of 70) the Trojans are ranked; USC's 69th time in the top 5. It is also the 40th time that the Women of Troy hold the nation's top ranking; most all-time.
  • The Trojans are 64-9 all-time at Merle Norman Stadium and undefeated on home sand this season with a 7-0 record.
  • USC's 12-0 mark is the third best start in program history. The Trojans went 32-0 to begin 2017 (finished 38-1) and were 28-0 in 2015; both championship seasons.
  • USC's 12-match run equals the fourth-longest winning streak in program history.
  • Women of Troy have received AVCA All-America notice 20 times. USC returns All-Americans Sammy Slater and Tina Graudina to the lineup this spring.
  • The 20-match winning streak sophomore twins Audrey Nourse and Nicole Nourse are on is the fourth longest by a USC pair in program history.

LAST TIME OUT: The Trojans earned their eighth and ninth 5-0 victories of the season with wins over Oregon and Utah at the Pac-12 South Invitational in Tucson, Ariz. USC swept the Ducks with its regular lineup but made some changes against the Utes. Sophomore twins Audrey Nourse and Nicole Nourse won their 12th straight match to run their winning streak to 20.
STARTING BLOCKS: USC's 12-0 start to begin the 2021 season is the program's third best start all-time. The Women of Troy went 32-0 to open the 2017 campaign and finished with a single loss (38-1) en route to winning the second of back-to-back NCAA titles. The Trojans were 28-0 to open (and close) the 2015 season when they won the school's first beach volleyball title in the AVCA championship.
CLOSING COSTS: Despite most of the Trojans' pairs playing together for the first time, several USC players are closing in on the program's top 10 for individual career victories. Graduate Joy Dennis leads that group with 87 career wins; 12th all-time at USC. Junior Tina Graudina is next with 75-career wins (all at the top court) which is 15th all-time. Senior Haley Hallgren is tied with Graudina with 75-career victories, and senior Sammy Slater has 74-career wins to rank 16th.

POW-WOW: USC pairs have won the Pac-12 Beach Volleyball Pair of the Week award a league-best 21 times since its inception in 2016. On March 5, sophomores Audrey Nourse and Nicole Nourse won the first award of 2021 (their first-career honor) and became only the third No. 5 pair ever to be chosen for the league's weekly award. Hailey Harward and Julia Scoles were honored on March 10; and the Trojans' No. 1 pair of All-Americans Tina Graudina and Sammy Slater were chosen March 18 and March 24. All-Americans Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes are owners of a school-record five Pac-12 POW awards. Jenna Belton and Jo Kremer were the first-ever No. 5 pair to win the honor on March 21, 2017. USC's Nicolette Martin andAllie Wheeler have the great distinction of being the first-ever Pac-12 Pair of the Week honorees; chosen from the No. 3 position as juniors on March 8, 2016.
SANDCASTLE: The Women of Troy are 64-9 (.877) at Merle Norman Stadium since it opened in 2013. The Trojans won 19 straight home matches between 2014 and 2016; and went 10-0 in 2015 and 8-0 in 2014 on MNS sand. USC's later 16-match winning streak was snapped on Feb. 28, 2018, when UCLA and Pepperdine claimed back-to-back 3-2 wins over the Trojans. Only four teams have ever come to Merle Norman Stadium and beaten the Women of Troy: Pepperdine (3), UCLA (3), Florida State (2), and Long Beach State (1).
LET'S GO STREAKING: USC set a new program record to close the 2016 season as winners of 30 consecutive dual matches. That streak carried into the 2017 campaign and reached 62 before a loss on April 28 in the 2017 Pac-12 Championship. The 62 victories rank sixth among longest streaks in the history of USC athletics. All-Americans Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes won 103 straight matches as a pair between April 2, 2015 and April 8, 2017. During that streak, the two Trojans lost just seven sets (only one in 2016 and one in 2017). Sophomore twins Audrey Nourse and Nicole Nourse are currently on a 20-match winning streak, which is the fourth-longest ever by a USC pair.
1-2 PUNCH: The Trojans have played in 15 1v2 matchups and are 8-7 all-time in such duals. In 2019, USC was part of 1v2 matches six times and went 3-3. USC went 3-1 in 2016 but didn't play any such matches in 2015. In three 1-vs-2 duals in 2014, USC went 1-2. Overall, in these duals, USC is 5-4when ranked No. 1 and 3-3 when ranked No. 2.
POLL POSITION: USC was ranked No. 4 in the 2021 AVCA Coaches Top 20 preseason poll and ascended to take the No. 1 spot in the March 9th poll. The Women of Troy have been ranked in every AVCA poll for a total of 70 weeks. USC has also been ranked in the top five of the poll 69 times. The Trojans held that top-five distinction for 63 consecutive weeks from its inception until March 2, 2020. USC first seized the top spot in both polls on March 23, 2015, following a victory over then No. 1-ranked Hawai'i on the road and held the ranking for the rest of 2015. USC has been ranked No. 1 in 40 AVCA polls, the most all-time. The Trojans, Pepperdine, Hawai'i, UCLA, LSU, and Florida State are the only six teams ever to hold the top spot in the poll. USC is 106-9 all-time when ranked No. 1. The Trojans received their first-ever No. 1 ranking in 2014 and maintained the position for much of the season, before the they fell to eventual AVCA champion Pepperdine in the national semifinals.
GOT FIVE ON IT: The Trojans have collected nine 5-0 victories out of 12 duals this season. USC's other three wins were 4-1 finishes with each against longtime rival Pepperdine. In 2016, the Women of Troy posted 17 clean 5-0 wins and had 22 sweep victories including 3-0 wins. USC is 107-2 all-time in 5-0 results (34-0 at home; 13-2 on the road; 60-0 at neutral locations).