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NCAA Beach Volleyball

Sand Cats Head to Phoenix for GCU Invitational

Sand Cats Head to Phoenix for GCU Invitational


TUCSON, Ariz.—The Arizona Beach Volleyball team will travel to Phoenix this week to compete in the GCU Invitational on Friday, March 29. The Sand Cats are ranked No. 19 in this week’s AVCA Collegiate Beach Coaches Poll and are coming off a 4-0 sweep of the Arizona Invitational.
 
Arizona will face Stetson and Grand Canyon University, both nationally ranked teams, for the first time this season on Friday.
 
GCU Invitational Match Ups
 
GCU- The Wildcats are 3-4 in their history against Grand Canyon. The last time the two teams faced each other was in the 2022 season and resulted in a 1-4 GCU victory. GCU is ranked No. 16 in this week’s AVCA poll.
 
Stetson- Arizona is 1-1 against Stetson. The teams last competed in 2019, with Stetson winning the matchup 3-2. Stetson is ranked No. 18 in this week’s AVCA poll.
 
GCU Invitational full match schedule:
 
Friday, March 29:
 
MATCH 1- Arizona vs. Stetson (12:00 p.m. MST)
MATCH 2- GCU vs. Arizona (3:00 p.m.)
 
Saturday, March 30:
 
MATCH 1- Stetson vs. ASU (10:00 a.m.)
MATCH 2- GCU vs. Stetson (12:00 p.m.)
MATCH 3- GCU vs. ASU (2:00 p.m.)
 
Fans can follow along with live stats for each of the tournament’s matches.
 
NOTING THE WILDCATS
 
Steve Walker is in his 11th season as the head coach for the Wildcats. Walker has a career record of 194-85 (.695) at Arizona. Named the 2016 Pac-12 Beach Volleyball Coach of the Year, Walker led Arizona to the first NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship in 2016.
Abby Russell is 55-33 (.625) during her career at Arizona, putting her at No. 12 on the program’s list of most individual career wins. Russell and partner Olivia McElroy played at No. 1 at the Arizona Invitational, going 4-0. The pair is 13-4  (.765) on the season.
In her first season with the Wildcats, freshman Olivia McElroy has built up a 13-4 record with partner Abby Russell, going 6-2 at No. 1 and 7-2 at No. 2.
Grace Cook is 31-18 during her time at Arizona. The Missouri State transfer has a 6-1 record with partner Kylee Fitzsimmons at No. 2 and a 4-6 record with partner Hope Shannon (4-5 at No. 1, 0-1 at No. 2). At the Arizona Invitational, Shannon and Fitzsimmons went 4-0.
Fitzsimmons is 22-7 in her career as a Wildcat. This season, Fitzsimmons has a 7-3 record with partner Annie Kost at No. 3 and a 6-1 record with partner Grace Cook at No. 2.
 
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