International Volleyball

NCAA beach volleyball: Staggering odds in favor of USC, UCLA or Stanford

NCAA beach volleyball: Staggering odds in favor of USC, UCLA or Stanford

Top-seeded USC won the final 2024 Pac-12 beach title

The odds are overwhelming that USC, UCLA or Stanford will emerge as the winner of the NCAA’s National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship.

Their records paint a clear-as-day picture:

  •  USC and UCLA went 3-3 against each other.
  •  USC was 2-1 against Stanford.
  • UCLA went 2-2 against Stanford.
  • Against the rest of the NCAA beach volleyball world, USC, UCLA and Stanford were a combined 84-3.


That means the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 seeds in this weekend’s NCAA Championship won 96.5% of their duals that were not played against each other.

The daunting task that awaits the other 14 underdog teams in the NCAA bracket that hit the beach on Friday through Sunday in Gulf Shores, Alabama, is how to beat that statistical probability imposed by the powerhouse trio out of the soon-to-be-defunct Pac-12. Their only saving grace is that the tournament is single elimination.

Nonetheless, compelling history and that break-even record over six meetings thus far tell us that top-seeded USC (33-5) or second seed UCLA (32-6) are most likely to take a celebratory group swim in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico after the NCAA title dual on Sunday.

(What college-beach volleyball fan doesn’t know that the Women of Troy or the Bruins have been the only teams to savor that salty dip since the sport was sanctioned by the NCAA in 2016?)

UCLA’s Devon Newberry hits past USC’s Madison White/Andy J. Gordon photo

USC has its periscope focused on a four-peat. Yes, Coach Dain Blanton’s program has won three national titles in a row. UCLA twice during its archrival’s unprecedented run begrudgingly has settled for runners-up honors (2021 and ‘23,). The score of last year’s championship dual was 3-2, with the natty not decided until the Nourse twins (Audrey and Nicole) prevailed at the 3s in a third-set tiebreaker.

The kicker in the final year of the COVID era in beach volleyball is that 11 of the 20 starters from the 2023 title tussle return in key positions for a potential encore, including arguably the best top-court pairs in the college game: USC seniors Megan Kraft (123-12 in her career) and Delaynie Maple (126-13), and UCLA super senior Lexy Denaburg (130-36) and sophomore Abby Boyd (57-13).

The only gate-crasher with a compelling chance to breach appears to be Stanford (31-5), although the young Cardinal squad had more success early in the the season than late.

Teams with the proverbial puncher’s chance in a single-elimination…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at…