USC Beach Volleyball Stars Ready to Shine on Olympic Stage
TOKYO – Four Trojans are set to begin competition in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games when play commences on Saturday, June 24, at Shiokaze Park on the Tokyo Bay.
USC indoor volleyball All-American April Ross seeks her third Olympic medal after capturing silver at the 2012 London Games with Jennifer Kessy and bronze at the 2016 Rio Games. Three-time USC beach All-American Kelly Claes and partner Sarah Sponcil each own NCAA titles and comprise the youngest American beach volleyball pair ever to compete at the games. A late addition on the men's side, USC volleyball All-American Tri Bourne will team with Jake Gibb for the first time in their careers after Gibb's partner Taylor Crabb was ruled out of competition due to COVID-19 protocols. All three Trojans will represent the United States.
USC beach volleyball All-American Tina Graudina and partner Anastasija Kravcenoka comprise the first-ever Latvian women's team and are coached by current USC assistant Gustavo Rocha. Third-year USC head coach Dain Blanton will serve as a commentator for NBC's broadcast of the beach volleyball competition.
Local time in Tokyo is 16 hours ahead of Pacific Time at USC in Los Angeles so most matches occurring in the early morning at Shiokaze Park will be shown on NBC, NBC Sports Network, and NBCOlympics.com on the evening of the prior calendar date. A full schedule of Trojan beach volleyball athletes is listed below with Pacific Time noted for matches. Broadcast times for each of the matches may be different. For a complete listing of all USC Olympians competing in the Games, please visit http://olympics.usctrojans.com
Pool play continues through July 31 and will include a lucky-losers round to whittle the field of 24 pairs down to 16. From there, a four-round single-elimination tournament takes place to determine medal winners. Women's third-place and gold-medal matches are scheduled to take place on August 6; while the men will play their matches on August 7.
APRIL ROSS & ALIX KLINEMAN (USA) · WOMEN'S POOL B
JULY 24 vs. Xue/Wang X.X. (China) – 5 p.m. PT
JULY 26 vs. Elsa/Liliana (Spain) – 5 p.m. PT
JULY 29 vs. Keizer/Meppelink (Netherlands) – 5 p.m. PT
KELLY CLAES & SARAH SPONCIL (USA) · WOMEN'S POOL D
JULY 25 vs. Graudina/Kravcenoka (Latvia) – 5 p.m. PT
JULY 28 vs. Khadambi/Makokha (Kenya) – 5 p.m. PT
JULY 30 vs. Ana Patricia/Rebecca (Brazil) – 5 p.m. PT
TINA GRAUDINA & ANASTASIJA KRAVCENOKA (LATVIA) · WOMEN'S POOL D
JULY 25 vs. Claes/Sponcil (USA) – 5 p.m. PT
JULY 27 vs. Ana Patricia/Rebecca (Brazil) – 7 p.m. PT
JULY 30 vs. Khadambi/Makokha (Kenya) – 6 p.m. PT
TRI BOURNE & JAKE GIBB (USA) · MEN'S POOL C
JULY 25 vs. Carambula/Rossi (Italy) – 6 a.m. PT
JULY 27 vs. Gerson/Heidrich (Switzerland) – 5 p.m. PT
JULY 30 vs. Ahmed/Cherif (Qatar) – 6 a.m. PT
The USC beach volleyball team captured the program's fourth national championship (third NCAA crown) with a win over crosstown rival UCLA in the NCAA Championship dual. Under second-year head coach Dain Blanton, USC went 30-4 and had winning streaks of 13 and 12 matches during the season. The Trojans finished as the Pac-12 runner-up and produced the league's Pair of the Year in Tina Graudina and Megan Kraft. Graudina was also named Pac-12 Player of the Year and Kraft was the conference's Freshman of the Year. Both were named first-team AVCA All-Americans and were joined on the first team by Julia Scoles and Sammy Slater.
For more information on the USC beach volleyball team, a complete schedule, and results, please visit USCTrojans.com/beach. Fans of the Women of Troy can follow the team on Instagram and on Twitter @USCBeach.