NCAA Beach Volleyball

Beach Dawgs Earn First Trip to National Championship

Beach Dawgs Earn First Trip to National Championship

SEATTLE — For the first time ever, the Huskies have been selected for the Beach Volleyball National Championship, capping off a record setting season. The Huskies earned the thirteen seed when they were selected as an at-large bid. The Huskies will take on No. 4 Florida State at 7 a.m. PSTย in Gulf Shores, Alabama on May 3rd at Gulf Shores Public Beach.

“Obviously we are really excited for this opportunity,” said Head Coach Derek Olson. “This team displayed a lot of grit throughout the year to set us up for this moment. While I’m proud of this accomplishment I know these girls are capable of winning in Gulf Shores as well. We want to celebrate our first NCAA tournament appearance, but we also have to stay hungry because these opportunities aren’t guaranteed, and as we know, they are hard to come by.”

ย How Did We Get Here:

After defeating Utah on Thursday, the Beach Dawgs reached the impressive 20-win threshold, considered a mark of a strong season. It’s the second year in a row they reached it.

Under the direction of Olson this year, the Huskies played one of the hardest schedules in the country. That was intentional, Olson said, because he believes it adds a level of toughness to the players’ game. Under the rigors of that demanding schedule, the Dawgs stayed ranked all season, helping them earn the bid because the selection committee heavily weighs the strength of schedule when deciding which at-large bids get into the NCAA Championship.

This year, the Huskies have played 22 ranked opponents. Most of those games happened on the road where they notched wins against highly ranked teams, such as Florida International and Grand Canyon.

But the two-week stretch at home towards the end of the season played a key role in bringing the team into contention for the national championship, and setting the Dawgs up for the postseason.

ย For Instance, during the Huskies’ first home tournament in April, they earned crucial wins against No. 12 Arizona State and No. 7 California. The ranked wins brought them the highest American Volleyball Coaches Association ranking they attained this season at 11.ย ย 

ย Individual or Pair Successes

As a result of the wins from the home event on April 5th and 6th, freshman Zoey Henson and transfer junior Lauren Wilcock won National and Pac-12 Pair of the Week honors. The success at home was part of a larger 12-dual winning streak for the duo, which included three wins in a row against No. 2 Stanford, No. 7 California and No. 12…

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