Bruins Earn Top Seed for NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship
INDIANAPOLIS -- Fresh off the heels of winning the program's second Pac-12 Championship with back-to-back wins over No. 1 USC on Saturday, No. 2 UCLA (28-3) has earned the top seed for the second time in program history (the first since 2018) for the 2021 National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship as announced by the NCAA Women's Beach Volleyball Committee on Sunday afternoon.
The field was selected from the 83 NCAA institutions sponsoring the sport of beach volleyball. Three teams were selected from the East Region and three teams were selected from the West Region. The remaining two teams were selected at-large from the teams across the country. All eight teams were then seeded.
The finalists selected from the East Region include: Florida State, LSU and TCU. UCLA, USC, and Loyola Marymount made up the West Region selections, while Cal Poly and Stanford were granted at-large bids.
The committee seeded all eight teams nationally. The seeds in order are as follows: 1. UCLA, 2. USC, 3. Florida State, 4. LSU, 5. Loyola Marymount, 6. Stanford, 7. Cal Poly, and 8. TCU.
The 2021 NCAA Women's Beach Volleyball Championship will be held Friday through Sunday, May 7-9, in Gulf Shores, Ala., hosted by the City of Gulf Shores, University of Alabama at Birmingham and Orange Beach Sports Commission. The event will be televised live by ESPN networks, with ESPNU providing live coverage on Friday, May 7 starting at 10 a.m. ET. Live coverage will continue Saturday, May 8 on ESPN2, starting at 2 p.m. ET and Sunday, May 9 at 10 a.m. ET on ESPN2. The championship dual will air on ESPN2 Sunday, May 9, at 1:30 p.m. ET. Additionally, live streaming coverage of every court throughout the tournament will be available on ESPN3. For all championship site match times and more information about the championship click here.
UCLA, the back-to-back defending NCAA Champions (2018 and 2019), will open play on Friday, May 7 with the first match of the day at 7:00 a.m. PT/10:00 a.m. ET against No. 8 TCU (26-8). The Bruins are 2-0 all-time against the Horned Frogs with both meetings taking place in the East Meets West Challenge hosted by UCLA at the Manhattan Beach Pier. UCLA won 4-1 on March 11, 2018, and 5-0 on March 10, 2019.
With arguably the toughest strengths of schedule in the country, the Bruins have already faced six of the seven other teams in the NCAA Championship field a total of 17 times, going 14-3 in those contests. Those 17 duals in 2021 against the NCAA field makes up over half of the Bruins' games this season (17-of-31 or 54.8 percent). The Bruins are 2-3 against No. 2 USC, 2-0 against No. 3 Florida State, 2-0 against No. 4 LSU, 3-0 against No. 5 LMU, 3-0 vs. No. 6 Stanford, and 2-0 against No. 7 Cal Poly during the COVID-shortened regular season. It should be noted that UCLA did not have its full lineup when they faced the Trojans in the three losses this season. Abby Van Winkle wasn't available in the first loss at USC (March 4), and Lindsey Sparks wasn't available for UCLA when the Bruins met USC at Cal Poly (April 17) and at home (April 22).
USC enters the 2021 NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship with a 12-4 record against the tournament field. Florida State is 11-3 while LSU has gone 3-7. LMU is 2-6 on the year against the tournament field while Stanford (1-7), Cal Poly (0-7) and TCU (0-6) round out the field.