Although the NCAA has not made sand volleyball a national championship sport (40 sanctioned programs have to be in existence for two years before an NCAA championship will be created), the AVCA stepped into the void last year and created the AVCA Collegiate Sand Championships. Hosted in Gulf Shores, Ala., six teams are selected to participate in the end-of-the-year tournament team division, and sixteen pairs will battle for the title of number one college pair in the country. The action begins Friday, May 3 and will wrap up Sunday, May 5.
The teams selected for the team portion of the championship are:
Long Beach State
University of Louisiana-Monroe
Pepperdine and Long Beach State received first round byes as the No. 1 and 2 seeds in the team tournament. In the first round USC plays North Florida and Florida State plays Louisiana-Monroe.
The pairs division includes the top team from each of these six schools as well as 10 additional pairs deemed "The Best of the Rest" from schools who were not selected to compete in the team championships.
Those additional pairs are:
Lane Carico/Katie Madewell (Georgia State)
Kelly Reeves/Meg Norton (UCLA)
Jessica Mendoza/Maryna Samoday (Florida International)
Bethanie Thomas/Kiriana Hirini (UAB)
Hannah Clancy/Katarina Schulz (Pacific)
Sammie Strausbaugh/Taylor Nyquist (Jacksonville)
Kate Stepanova/Ksenia Sukhareva (Florida International)
Dalas Dodd/Jordan Shaw (Saint Mary's College)
Zoe Nightingale/Becca Strehlow (UCLA)