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No. 1 USC Beach Volleyball Meets Skyhawks to Open Defense of NCAA Championship

May 3, 2022

GULF SHORES, Ala. – Defending NCAA champion USC (32-1) returns to Gulf Shores as the No. 1 seed and rides a 31-dual win streak in to the 2022 NCAA Championship. The Women of Troy captured the program's fourth Pac-12 title last Friday and earned an automatic berth into the championship field; the first to carry 16 teams in a newly expanded format. 

2022 NCAA BEACH VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Gulf Shores Beach • Gulf Shores, Ala.

MATCH #34 • Wednesday, May 3 12 p.m. CT (10 a.m. PT)
[1] No. 1 USC (32-1) vs. [16] UT Martin (17-8)
Gulf Shores Beach • Gulf Shores, Ala.
SERIES HISTORY: First meeting
STREAK: None • LAST 10: First meeting
TV/STREAM: ESPNU/WatchESPN App
OPPONENT WEBSITE: UTMSports.com

BARE E-SAND-SHELLS

  • USC is the defending NCAA champion and owns four national championships including the first NCAA crown in 2016 (AVCA '15, NCAA '17, '21).
  • The Women of Troy also own four Pac-12 crowns (2016, '17, '19, '22).
  • The Trojans makes their sixth appearance in the NCAA Championship and hold the top seed for the third time. USC is 18-4 all-time in duals at the NCAA Championship. Since 2016, the Trojans' pair at No. 1 is 18-0 in duals at the NCAA Championship.
  • USC is 68-10 under third-year head coach Dain Blanton.
  • The Women of Troy are 25-8 all-time on Gulf Shores sand.
  • The Trojans have logged 5-0 wins 17 times this spring (129 all-time). 
  • USC is ranked No. 1 in both the AVCA and the CBVB.com Poll. It is the 87th time (of 87) the Trojans are ranked by the AVCA; USC's 86th time in the top 5. The Trojans have also held the No. 1 ranking a record 50 times.
  • The Trojans' 31-dual winning streak is the second longest in program history. It sits behind only a 62-match win streak from March 11, 2016, to April 27, 2017.
  • USC has celebrated 14 AVCA All-Americans (28 certificates). The 2022 Trojans boast five All-Americans: Tina Graudina (4), Sammy Slater (3), Megan Kraft (2), Julia Scoles, and Hailey Harward.

The Trojans will open play in the single-elimination first round on Wednesday, May 4, in a first-time meeting with UT Martin (17-8), which won the Ohio Valley Conference championship last week. USC makes its sixth appearance in the NCAA tournament with an eye on claiming a fourth title. The Trojans are 25-8 all-time in Gulf Shores with an 18-4 mark in duals at the NCAA championship. USC's No. 1 pair is 18-0 in NCAA duals in Gulf Shores since 2016.
 
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 four Pac-12 championships (2016, '17, '19, '22).
 
USC NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY: USC has played in the national collegiate tournament all but once since the program began in 2012. It made appearances in the AVCA championship in 2013 and 2014 but went 2-2 each year as Pepperdine and Long Beach State claimed national titles. Under head coach Anna Collier, the Trojans broke through to win their first national crown in 2015; a title accompanied by an unblemished 28-0 record. In 2016, the NCAA sponsored its first beach volleyball championship as USC went 34-2 to capture the first-ever NCAA title with back-to-back wins over top-seeded Florida State. The Trojans won 32 in a row to open 2017 and finished the year with their second consecutive NCAA title; and third straight national championship. USC was 2-2 in 2018 and finished as the runner-up to UCLA in the 2019 NCAA championship. While there was no 2020 championship due to the COVID-19 world pandemic, the Women of Troy returned to form in 2021 and went 30-4 overall under head coach Dain Blanton to secure the program's fourth national crown.
 
LAST TIME OUT: USC captured the program's fourth Pac-12 Championship by going 4-0 on Bear Down Beach in Tucson, Ariz. The Trojans defeated eighth-seeded Oregon in the first round and then dispatched of tournament host fifth-seeded Arizona in the second round; both by 3-0 scores. In the winner's bracket final, USC took down No. 2 seed UCLA, 3-1, to move directly into the championship dual. The Bruins returned from the contender's bracket to get a rematch with the Trojans, but USC swept UCLA, 3-0, to win the championship. USC's No. 1 pair of Tina Graudina and Hailey Harward, and its No. 3 pair of Delaynie Maple and Julia Scoles were named to the Pac-12 All-Tournament Team.