International Volleyball

Conference-by-conference breakdown as NCAA beach volleyball heads into postseason

Conference-by-conference breakdown as NCAA beach volleyball heads into postseason

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi celebrates winning the Southland Conference

In the penultimate week of the collegiate beach volleyball season, our report features a conference-by-conference breakdown of the tournaments that will determine the automatic qualifiers in the NCAA’s National Collegiate Beach Championship, a 17-team, single-elimination tournament May 3-5 in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
Equally important, we dissect the chances of the logical contenders for the eight at-large bids. 
The bracket will be announced on at 11 a.m. Eastern Sunday, April 28.


Four programs from the last hurrah of the “Conference of Champions” seemingly are locked into bids.

As in every season in which the NCAA has sanctioned a national tournament, the title likely will run through the stacked Pac-12.

USC (29-4) has its sights set on a fourth consecutive NCAA crown. Coach Dain Blanton’s Women of Troy enter the Pac 12 tournament, Wednesday through Friday in the desert on Arizona State’s campus courts, as the No. 1-ranked team in the weekly AVCA coaches poll and the top seed among the nine gathered in Tempe.

No. 2 UCLA (29-5) is the defending Pac-12 tournament champion and last season’s national runner-up. The Bruins are seeded second and have split four duals with archrival USC.

By now every fan of collegiate beach volleyball should be able to recite this sentence by heart: USC and UCLA are the only programs to win national titles since the sport received sanction by the NCAA in 2016.

No. 3 Stanford (28-3) seems the most likely candidate to end that trend. The Cardinal have gone 1-1 against USC and 2-1 against UCLA and their only other setback came in Tempe against Arizona State. Stanford’s lineup from the 1s through the 5s has been rock-solid, but Coach Andrew Fuller typically has four freshmen among his 10 starters. That inexperience might show against the far more battle-tested Trojans and Bruins.

Seeded fourth in the double-elimination (except for the final) competition behind Stanford is No. 8 Cal (20-11). The Golden Bears might have double-digit losses, but they came against USC, UCLA (twice), Stanford (twice), Cal Poly (twice), Florida State, TCU, LSU and Washington. Cal’s name will be called by the committee when the NCAA selection show streams Sunday (11 a.m. Eastern) on

Nine conference tournament winners will be automatic qualifiers. The burning question heading into Selection Sunday is: How many…

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