No. 3 USC Beach Volleyball Opens April on Manhattan Beach Sand
LOS ANGELES – The No. 3-ranked USC beach volleyball team (15-1) carries a 14-dual win streak into this weekend's UCLA Invitational at the Manhattan Beach Pier, where the Trojans will face four top-15 opponents. The Women of Troy look to extend on the program's fourth-longest streak when they meet No. 6 LSU (19-4) and No. 9 Hawai'i (15-6) on Saturday (April 2) and No. 2 TCU (24-0) and No. 15 Florida International (15-1) on Sunday (April 3). USC is 12-1 all-time on Manhattan Beach sand.
2022 UCLA INVITATIONAL
Manhattan Beach Pier • Manhattan Beach, Calif.
MATCH #17 • Saturday, April 2 • 9 a.m. PT
No. 3 USC (15-1) vs. No. 6 Louisiana State (19-4)
SERIES HISTORY: USC leads, 4-2 (.667)
STREAK: Won 1 • LAST 10: 4-2
LAST MEETING: W 3-2 (April 4, 2021 • Merle Norman Stad.)
OPPONENT WEBSITE: LSUSports.net
MATCH #18 • Saturday, April 2 • 3 p.m. PT
No. 3 USC (15-1) vs. No. 9 Hawai'i (15-6)
SERIES HISTORY: USC leads, 14-3 (.824)
STREAK: Won 2 • LAST 10: 8-2
LAST MEETING: W 3-0 (May 4, 2019 • Gulf Shores, Ala.)
OPPONENT WEBSITE: HawaiiAthletics.com
MATCH #19 • Sunday, April 3 • 9:30 a.m. PT
No. 3 USC (15-1) vs. No. 2 TCU (24-0)
SERIES HISTORY: USC leads, 4-0 (1.000)
STREAK: Won 4 • LAST 10: 4-0
LAST MEETING: W 5-0 (March 9, 2019 • Manhattan Beach)
OPPONENT WEBSITE: GoFrogs.com
MATCH #20 • Sunday, April 3 • 1:30 p.m. PT
No. 3 USC (15-1) vs. No. 15 Florida International (15-1)
SERIES HISTORY: USC leads, 7-0 (1.000)
STREAK: Won 7 • LAST 10: 7-0
LAST MEETING: W 5-0 (March 16, 2022 • South Beach, Fla.)
OPPONENT WEBSITE: FIUSports.com
- Defending champion USC owns four national championships including the first NCAA title in 2016 (AVCA '15, NCAA '17, '21).
- The Women of Troy also own three Pac-12 crowns (2016, '17, '19).
- USC is 51-10 under third-year head coach Dain Blanton.
- The Trojans have logged 5-0 wins 10 times this spring (122 all-time).
- USC is 12-1 all-time when it plays in Manhattan Beach.
- The Trojans' 14-dual winning streak is the fourth longest in program history.
- Tina Graudina became the 10th Trojan to collect 100-career wins (now 103). Last week, Sammy Slater became the 11th and is up to 101.
- USC has celebrated 13 different AVCA All-Americans (24 certificates). Four All-Americans return in 2022: Slater, Graudina, Julia Scoles, and Megan Kraft.
- Delaynie Maple and Scoles have won 29 straight sets (16-0 in matches)
- Three transfers join the roster this season, all with experience at the No. 1 position at previous schools: Emily Hansen (CSU Bakersfield), Caroline Schafer (California), and Sunny Villapando (Stanford).
THE CHAMP IS HERE: USC is the defending NCAA champion. The Trojans captured the program's third NCAA title and fourth national crown in 2021. USC won the final AVCA championship in 2015 and owns the first two NCAA titles (2016, '17) in addition to last year's championship. The Women of Troy have also claimed three Pac-12 championships (2016, '17, '19).
LAST TIME OUT: The Trojans dominated opponents for four 5-0 sweeps and a 4-1 victory last week. USC took down Houston Baptist and CSU Bakersfield at home and then went 3-0 at the Pac-12 South Invitational with sweeps of Utah and Washington; and a 4-1 win over Arizona State. The Trojans were without All-American and Olympian Tina Graudina who participated in the World Volleyball Elite 16 event in Rosarito, Mexico, and took second place with partner Anastasija Kravcenoka. USC also didn't have All-American Sammy Slater for three of the five duals due to illness. With shifts in the lineup, Slater returned to action against ASU and teamed with Caroline Schafer to collect her 100th-career victory on Saturday night. She became only the 11th Trojan to cross the triple-digit wins plateau in her career. Several of USC's pairs went undefeated over the course of the week most notably Delaynie Maple and Julia Scoles who went 5-0 without dropping a single set. The duo is still undefeated at 16-0 on the season and has now won 29 consecutive sets heading into the weekend.
CENTURY CITY: Two Trojans crossed the 100-career wins plateau this season. Tina Graudina became the program's 10th player to win 100 matches on March 16 during USC's victory over Florida International. She is now 103-9 in her four-year collegiate career and ranks tied for eighth in USC history. Sammy Slater is right on Graudina's heels and collected her 100th win against Arizona State on March 26. Slater now has 101-career wins, which ranks 11th all-time. Four-time All-American Sara Hughes leads all players with 190-career victories. Kelly Claes (180), Nicolette Martin (141), and Allie Wheeler (130), comprise an elite group of four Women of Troy to have recorded over 125 wins. Jenna Belton finished with 124 wins and is followed by Abril Bustamante (121) and Terese Cannon (112). Jo Kremer, Joy Dennis, and Tina Graudina each have 103-career victories to tie for eighth all-time in program history.
IN THE LONG RUN: The Trojans' current 14-match winning streak is the team's fourth-longest streak of victories and marks the eighth time that USC has put together a double-digit win streak. Last season, the Women of Troy had two winning streaks of 13 and 12 matches. The program record is 62 consecutive wins from March 11, 2016, to April 27, 2017.
HOPE LIVES HERE: Graduate Julia Scoles was chosen as one of two inaugural winners of the CalHOPE Courage Award on March 1. The award—presented by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), in association with The Associated Press (AP) and CalHOPE—recognizes inspiring student-athletes at California colleges and universities who have demonstrated courage in the face of adversity. Scoles was chosen based on her testimony of how her deep-seated faith and relationship with Christ has helped her find the courage to share about her journey through athletics and dealing with concussions and mental health issues that stem from injuries. For more info and resources, visit CalHOPE.org.
POLL POSITION: USC opened the 2022 season ranked atop the AVCA Coaches Top 20 preseason poll. The Women of Troy have been ranked in every AVCA poll for a total of 82 weeks. USC has also been ranked in the top five of the poll 81 times. The Trojans held that top-five distinction for 63 consecutive weeks from its inception until March 2, 2020. USC first seized the No. 1 ranking in both the AVCA and Volleyball Magazine 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 45 AVCA polls, the most all-time (Pepperdine ranks second at 17 times). 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 116-14 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.