NCAA Beach Volleyball Championships

NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship: This is Going to be Fun

Lily Justine-Sarah Sponcil-UCLA-USC-beach volleyball

The beauty of college beach volleyball could be found in Santa Monica on April 20. LMU vs. Pepperdine. One court remaining to decide the fate of the West Coast Conference title. Packed court. Four players competing. Two dozen others screaming with whatever their lungs had left in them.

“This,” an LMU fan said, smiling widely as she took a video with her phone, “is fun.”

The beauty of beach volleyball could be found in Los Angeles on April 27. USC vs. UCLA. One court remaining to decide the fate of the Pac-12 title. Four players competing. Two dozen others screaming with whatever their lungs had left in them.

“So cool,” Terese Cannon, one of those players on the court, said afterwards.

The beauty of college beach volleyball, on that same day, could be found in Malibu. Zuma Beach. Cal Poly vs. Hawai’i.

More history awaiting to be made, as Poly won its first conference championship in school history, with a lineup so fraught with injuries that Emily Sonny, a blocker on court two, has resorted to switch hitting – and winning while doing so.

This has been the theme of the season. Parity was the word at the start. Unpredictability was the result of such parity in the end, as shown by the conference championships and the results of Sunday’s NCAA Selection Show.

Stetson (#8) reclaimed its position in the NCAA Championships. USC (#1), after not being No. 1 for more than a year, reclaimed its spot atop beach volleyball’s iron throne. Cal Poly (#6) found new and innovative and downright applause-worthy ways to win. Hawai’i(#7) gave itself another shot to make an NCAA final. Florida State (#3) and LSU (#5) outright dominated the east. Pepperdine (#4), through all manner of obstacles and adversity – shootings, fires, injuries – jumped back up to No. 4 in the country.

And all of it will culminate into one magnificent weekend in Gulf Shores for the NCAA Championships.

For so long, the storyline was who could possibly take down UCLA (#2)? With that depth, the talents on court six that could realistically start on most court threes, who could beat the Bruins?

Then USC did it once, twice, thrice, in a span of 20 days.

Now the storylines are scrambled. Everything is out of sort. The exact type of playoff mayhem that will make a weekend like the next all the more fun.

You can tune into the championships beginning Friday, May 3 on ESPNU.

In retrospect, the LMU fan was correct, both in the assessment of the WCC Championships and in what is to come.

This is going to be fun.  

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