USC Beach Volleyball Seeks Fourth Pac-12 Championship
LOS ANGELES – Defending Pac-12 beach volleyball champion USC (23-2) enters the 2021 conference tournament on a 10-dual winning streak this week. The Women of Troy will face either eighth-seeded Oregon (7-9) or ninth-seeded Utah (3-21) in their first match on Thursday, April 29, at Mapes Beach on the campus of championship host UCLA. All duals at the Pac-12 Beach Volleyball Championship will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 Networks.
2021 PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP
Mapes Beach • Los Angeles, Calif.
Thursday, April 29 - Saturday, May 1
MATCH #26 • Thursday, April 29 • 3 p.m. PT
 No. 1 USC (23-2) vs.  Oregon (7-9) or  Utah (3-21)
Mapes Beach • Los Angeles, Calif.
LIVE TV: Pac-12 Networks (Anne Marie Anderson & Holly McPeak)
CONFERENCE WEBSITE: Pac-12.com
NOTE: Fans are not permitted to attend the 2021 Pac-12 Beach Volleyball Championship. Please visit Pac-12.com for the full conference fan attendance policy for this spring's championship events. LINK
- 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) and are 15-3 all-time in duals at the Pac-12 Championship with a 64-19 record in individual matches.
- Only two Pac-12 opponents have ever beaten the Trojans: UCLA (11 times) and California (twice). USC is otherwise 43-0 against Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. The Trojans are 67-13 against the Pac-12.
- Second-year head coach Dain Blanton took the helm for the defending Pac-12 champions in July 2019 and is 29-7 overall.
- USC is ranked No. 1 in the AVCA Coaches Poll. It is the 74th time (of 74) the Trojans are ranked; USC's 73rd time in the top 5. It is also the 42nd time that the Women of Troy hold the nation's top ranking; most all-time.
- Trojan pairs won Pac-12 Pair of the Week laurels five times this spring.
- Sr. Joy Dennis has 99 career wins; tied for ninth all-time among USC players.
- So. twin sisters Audrey Nourse and Nicole Nourse produced the program's third-longest winning streak by a pair having won 26 straight matches between March 1, 2020 and April 10, 2021. Only streaks of 28 and 103 wins are longer.
- 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.
A win on Thursday would advance the Trojans into the second round of the winner's bracket to face either fourth-seeded Stanford (20-9) or fifth-seeded California (14-11) on Friday (April 30) at approximately 1:15 p.m. PT. USC owns three Pac-12 titles (2016, '17, '19) and won the last championship at Merle Norman Stadium before finishing as the 2019 NCAA runner-up. The Trojans are 15-3 in duals at the Pac-12's tourney with a 64-19 overall mark in individual matches.
LAST TIME OUT: The Trojans extended their winning streak to 10 duals with a 3-2 victory over No. 2-ranked UCLA in their regular-season finale. With All-American junior Tina Graudina out, USC used a different lineup and got wins at the Nos. 2, 4, and 5 positions. At court four, senior Joy Dennis and freshman Delaynie Maple claimed a straight-set win to score the first dual point and picked up their 10th straight victory as a pair. The clinching point went up when sophomore twins Audrey Nourse and Nicole Nourse completed a three-set victory at the No. 5 position to finish the regular season with a 24-1 record.
PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY: The Women of Troy hosted the inaugural Pac-12 championship in 2016 at Merle Norman Stadium and went 4-0 to win the school's first beach volleyball league title. USC went on to win the 2016 NCAA championship and carried a 62-match winning streak into the 2017 Pac-12 championship in Tucson, Ariz. Though the Trojans had their streak snapped, they went on to claim the 2017 crown for back-to-back championships. In 2018, the Bruins got the best of the Women of Troy in two meetings on Stanford sand as UCLA claimed its first Pac-12 title. USC and UCLA fought it out for the 2019 crown before the Trojans claimed a 3-2 win on home sand for their third Pac-12 championship. USC has held the No. 1 seed three times (2016, '17, '21) and is 15-3 all-time in Pac-12 tournament duals.
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 99 career wins to rank in a tie for ninth all-time. Junior Tina Graudina is next with 83-career wins which is 14th all-time. Senior Sammy Slater also has 83-career wins and senior Haley Hallgren has 80-career victories.
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 74 weeks. USC has also been ranked in the top five of the poll 73 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 42 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 109-11 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.