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AVCA Reveals Teams, Pairs for Sand Champs

By BJ Evans | April 22, 2014, 11:15 a.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 22, 2014) – The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) on Monday announced the teams and pairs that will compete at the 2014 AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championship on May 2-4 in Gulf Shores, Ala.

USC's Kirby Burnham (5) and Sarah Hughes (14)
   USC's No. 1 pair of Kirby Burnham, left, and Sara Hughes won
  the USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge on April 12-13.

The six schools that will compete in the team competition are University of Southern California (USC; seeded No. 1), Pepperdine (No. 2), Florida State University (No. 3), the University of Hawaii (No. 4), Florida International University (No. 5) and Stetson University (No. 6).

The top duo from each of the six schools will compete in the pairs competition along with teams from Long Beach State, the University of North Florida, Grand Canyon University, the University of Louisiana Monroe, Jacksonville University, Saint Mary's College of California, Loyola Marymount University, Tulane and UAB.

All participants in the Championships were selected based on results from the collegiate sand volleyball season, which began in March. The 2014 season featured 40 participating programs, a landmark number that cements the status of sand volleyball as the fastest-growing NCAA emerging sport and puts it on track for NCAA Championship status by 2016.

USA Volleyball has promoted the inclusion of sand volleyball as an NCAA sport by providing support to the AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championship since it started in 2012 and also by hosting the USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge every year since 2006. Many of the players in the pairs tournament have been a part of USAV's Beach High Performance Program.

The Team Championship will be held on May 2 and 3. Each school fields five doubles teams ranked in order and plays the corresponding pair from an opponent. The team-versus-team matches are decided by the school that wins three of the five flights. Play will start at 9 a.m. CT on five championship beach courts that are constructed specifically for this event. The teams have been seeded one through six with USC earning the No. 1 spot. The Team Championship will consist of nine school-vs.-school matchups over the two days with the finals beginning at 3:30 p.m. CT on May 3.

The Pairs Championship will begin with the ten Best of the Rest duos engaged in pool play on May 2 and 3. The top two finishers will be seeded into Sunday's 16-team single elimination bracket. The six top pairs from the team championship schools and the top two from the four semi-finalists will also be entered into the Pairs Championship bracket on May 4. There will be a play-in for the final two positions.

First-round matches in the Pairs Championship will start at 8 a.m. CT on Sunday, May 4. The semifinals, scheduled to start at noon, and the championship match, slated for 2 p.m., will be covered by CBS Sports Network.

CBS Sports Network will televise portions of the competition in a two-hour special that will have three airings:

May 26 at 7 p.m. ET
May 30 at 7:30 p.m. ET
June 2 at 7 p.m. ET

Team Championship Schedule (All Times CDT):
Friday, May 2
9 a.m. No. 4 Hawai'i v. No. 5 Florida International
10 a.m. No. 3 Florida State v. No. 6 Stetson
Noon No. 1 USC v. Winner No. 4/No. 5
1 p.m. No. 2 Pepperdine v. Winner No. 3/No. 6
4 p.m. Loser No. 4/No. 5 v. Loser of 1 p.m. match
5 p.m. Loser No. 3/No. 6 v. Loser of noon match

Saturday, May 3
11 a.m. Semifinal No. 1
Noon Semifinal No. 2
3:30 p.m. Championship Match

Best of the Rest Schedule (All Times CDT):

Pool play matches at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. on Friday May 2 and 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 3; Play-in match at 2 p.m., Saturday, May 3

Pool A (Names of Players/School)
1. Delainey Aigner-Swesey/Bojana Tordorovic (LBSU)
2. Zuzana Markova/Marcela Araya (Louisiana Monroe)
3. Taylor Nyquist/Sammie Strausbaugh (Jacksonville)
4. Betsi Metter/Litara Keil (Loyola Marymount)
5. Kiriana Hirini/Bethanie Thomas (UAB)

Pool B (Names of Players/School)
1. Dagnija Medina/Kim Hildreth (North Florida)
2. Kenzie Phelps/Kelli Dallmann (Grand Canyon)
3. Tyler Jackson/Janisa Johnson (LBSU)
4. Jordan Shaw/Samantha Tinsley (Saint Mary's)
5. Tea Juric/Jackie Wegner (Tulane)