International Volleyball

National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship match-by-match breakdown

National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship match-by-match breakdown

Long Beach’s Savannah Standage hits against Cal Poly’s Piper Ferch in the Big West Championship/Mark Rigney photo

A national champion in college beach volleyball will be crowned this weekend on the white sand in Gulf Shores, Alabama. It’s the last installment of the NCAA’s National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship on the Redneck Riviera before the tournament moves to “Surf City,” Huntington Beach, California.
We take a deep-dive capsule look into all 17 teams in the NCAA bracket that will vie on Friday in the first round of the single-elimination competition. The quarterfinals and semifinals are scheduled for Saturday, with the championship dual set for Sunday at 11 a.m. Eastern.    

No. 1 USC vs. No. 16 North Florida or No. 17 Chattanooga 

Record: 33-5 (No. 1 in the AVCA poll).
Coach: Dain Blanton, fifth season.
Projected lineup (record for the pair on all courts):
No. 1: Megan Kraft and Delaynie Maple (33-4).
No. 2: Madison White (28-6 overall) and Maddi Kriz (27-7 overall).
No. 3: Audrey Nourse and Nicole Nourse (29-7).
No. 4: Ashley Pater (25-4 overall) and Grace Seits (29-5 overall).
No. 5: Mabyn Thomas (21-6 overall) and Madison Goellner (12-4 overall).

Megan Kraft-Dain Blanton-Delaynie Maple-USC beach volleyball
Megan Kraft, Dain Blanton, and Delaynie Maple celebrate their 2023 title/USC photo

Synopsis: USC was the automatic qualifier out of the Pac-12 as its tournament winner in the Conference of Champions’ final season, defeating archrival UCLA 3-0 in the title dual. The Women of Troy will shoot to extend their streak of national beach titles to four. They did not meet North Florida or UT-Chattanooga, who will square off in the play-in dual, during the regular season. USC’s pairs at the 1s, 3s and 4s are No. 1 nationally in the latest TruVolley statistical rankings, while its 2s are No. 3 and 5s No. 6. Cumulatively, USC pairs won 81.5% of their matches (150-34). The battle-tested Women of Troy are 3-3 against UCLA, 2-1 against Stanford and their other loss came at LSU. They hold victories over Florida State, Cal Poly, TCU (three times), California (twice), Long Beach State (twice), Hawaii (twice), Loyola Marymount (three times), Arizona State and Washington. Another player who might see action for USC is Ainsley Radell (17-7), while Maddi Kriz and Grace Seits were 20-4 as a pair before Coach Dain Blanton put the grad transfers with other partners. Despite their gaudy record, top pair Megan Kraft and Delaynie Maple have shown a bit of vulnerability over the last few weeks.


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