On Sunday in the Gulf Shores of Alabama, the University of California, Los Angeles captured the 2019 National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship by defeating the University of Southern California 3-0. The Bruins spent most of the season as the top ranked team, until the crosstown rival Trojans bested them in the Pac-12 championship, securing the number one seed in the NCAA championship. The 2019 tournament marked the conclusion of the fourth season of women’s beach volleyball as an NCAA sport, and UCLA and USC have dominated with two titles each.
Of the 68 NCAA schools who sponsor beach volleyball, eight were invited to the championship: USC, UCLA, Florida State University, Pepperdine University, Louisiana State University, California Polytechnic State University, University of Hawaii and Stetson University.
Many of the student-athletes who competed this past weekend have a quick turnaround and will compete at the USA Volleyball Collegiate Beach Championships beginning Wednesday. Of the 92 athletes set to compete at Hermosa Beach in California, 38 competed at the NCAA championship.
The competition also features 16 men’s pairs, though men’s beach volleyball is not an NCAA sport.
Schools had the opportunity to register multiple teams for this weekend’s Team USA Champions Series, presented by Xfinity, event, and while the athletes will wear their collegiate jerseys, the focus will be on individual pairs.
The 2018 USA Volleyball Collegiate Beach Championships winners Claire Coppola and Kristen Nuss from LSU return as the number one seed.
UCLA is fielding two pairs, Abby Van Winkle/Lindsey Sparks, both of whom were named to the NCAA All-Tournament team, and Piper Monk/Hannah Phair, a freshman-sophomore pair who will take the reins from five graduating Bruins. Sparks represented Team USA at the Summer Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018.
USC is sending three pairs, Sammy Slater/Haley Hallgren and Joy Dennis/Maja Kaiser, all of whom competed in the NCAA championship, as well as the freshman pair of Hannah Martin/Laurel Kujan.
In total, 22 schools will be represented: LSU, Pepperdine, FSU, Cal Poly, USC, Long Beach State University, College of Charleston, University of Alabama – Birmingham, Arizona State University, Saint Mary’s College, University of Washington, University of Arizona, Loyola Marymount University, UCLA, Georgia State University, Grand Canyon University, Stanford University, Texas Christian University, University of Louisiana Monroe, Santa Anna College, University of Tampa and Westcliff University.
The women’s final will air live on NBCSN on Saturday, May 11, at 6 p.m. ET.