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Loaded field: Top 6 teams in AVCA Poll highlight Death Volley beach tourney at LSU

Loaded field: Top 6 teams in AVCA Poll highlight Death Volley beach tourney at LSU

Ashley Pater goes all out in USC’s home match last week against Hawai’i /Will Chu Photography

This week’s NCAA beach volleyball report takes an in-depth look at the colossal Death Volley Invitational, talking with LSU coach Russell Brock about how the mega-event came together and breaking down each of the eight nationally ranked teams competing before the cameras of VBTV on Friday and Saturday. We finish with a fast-paced rundown of the other dates on the sixth-week calendar.  

Do or die in Death Volley

Baton Rouge, Louisiana — of all places — is the site this week of what is likely the most stacked regular-season tournament since college beach volleyball became an NCAA-championship sport in 2016.

Forty percent of the teams in the AVCA coaches top 20 poll, including Nos. 1-6, play on Friday and Saturday in the Death Volley Invitational.

Host LSU and Coach Russell Brock have pulled out all the stops to make this a showcase easily accessible by fans nationwide, actually, worldwide. 

The name? A play on iconic LSU Tiger Stadium, the football venue referred to as Death Valley.

The format will match four teams from the East (AVCA No. 4 TCU, No. 5 Florida State, No. 10 LSU and No. 17 Florida Atlantic) against four from the West (No. 1 USC, No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Stanford and No. 6 Cal) in crossover contests. All earned bids to the 2023 NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship, in which USC defeated UCLA in the final, FSU and TCU were eliminated in the semifinals, and LSU, Stanford and Cal were quarterfinalists.

“This is a landmark event for the East or the South,” Brock said this week, his voice filled with excitement. “In California, the schools there have pretty steadily been able to invite the Eastern teams to come out and do that East vs. West format. This is something we’ve always wanted to do, so to hold this in our stadium was a plan we hoped we could pull off. We made a serious run at it for this season.

“We have been able to attract two or three West Coast to come here, because it’s just a fun place to play in a terrific environment. Thankfully, we were able to generate great interest so we get to kick off the inaugural Death Volley Invitational with a tremendous field, and we hope to repeat this every year.”

All of the 16 duals over two days at LSU’s 2,000-seat lighted stadium venue in Baton Rouge will be streamed for free on Volleyball World’s VBTV platform and will include full commentary on the featured court. This will be the first…

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