Thursday, 23 March 2023

International Volleyball

TCU rises to No. 1; busy college beach volleyball weekend; Miami hosts royalty

TCU rises to No. 1; busy college beach volleyball weekend; Miami hosts royalty

Beach volleyball is in full swing as the college season heads into its third weekend and the pro season gets underway in Miami. In this look at what will be a busy stretch, we start with a dive into new No. 1 TCU, see who else is hitting the NCAA sands, and see who is playing in the the pro events in South Florida.

Happy Horned Frogs

TCU’s athletic program has enjoyed a whirlwind of success during the 2022-23 school year, and beach coach Hector Gutierrez is proud that his undefeated Horned Frogs have hopped aboard for that giddy ride.

Football went bonkers with a dizzying climb up the rankings that resulted in a spot in the College Football Playoff and a thrill-a-minute 51-45 victory in the national semifinals over Michigan, before eventually falling far short in the title game against Georgia.

TCU women’s indoor volleyball earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament in Coach Jason Williams’ first season, and picked up a first-round victory over Washington. The men’s basketball team is 20-11, ranked No. 22 nationally heading into the Big 12 Tournament, and looks to be locked into a bid to the Big Dance, projected as a No. 5 seed by bracketology guru Joe Lunardi.

This week, another compelling headline greeted TCU (8-0) when it hit No. 1 in the AVCA beach-volleyball poll for the first time in program history. Heady stuff, indeed, for fans of the private school in Fort Worth, Texas.

TCU had been ranked No. 2 before — for six consecutive weeks, actually, during the 2022 season — but the top rung had eluded the Horned Frogs. That is, until victories this weekend over top-10-ranked Florida State (No. 2 at the time) and Georgia State leapfrogged them from third to first in the second rankings of the young beach season. TCU went 4-0 during the Tampa Tournament in Florida, winning 40 of 43 sets.

“Starting with football this year, we’ve been on this big wave athletically,” Gutierrez said Wednesday. “But it’s not just football or us [in beach volleyball]. We’ve got tennis, men’s basketball, women’s soccer, rifle, equestrian — a lot of teams doing really well. As coaches, we see what is going on here every day. It’s not a surprise for us that pretty much every single sport is doing well.

“As a school we’re really proud because we are only 9,000 students. If you compare it with other schools, it’s really small. But you can tell how the school is behind the athletic department, and that they believe that…

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