USC’s Abril Bustamante and Tina Graudina went 31-2 this season in NCAA beach volleyball and as a result are the 2018 VolleyballMag.com/Sand Socks Pair of the Year.
They edged UCLA twin sisters Nicole and Megan McNamara.
“It’s really tough to pick between the McNamaras and this pair,” LSU coach Russell Brock said. “But a 2-1 head-to-head record gives the nod to the USC pair (they battled to 17-17 in the third set at the NCAA championships before the dual was decided).
“With only two losses on the season and 25 wins in two sets, including all three of their matches in Gulf Shores, they proved to be the top pair in NCAA beach volleyball this year.”
Graudina was our unanimous choice for freshman of the year.
“Graudina was one of the elite blockers this year,” VBM’s Ed Chan said, “and you could see her confidence growing match by match.”
UCLA, Florida State, Hawai’i, and Pepperdine each landed two teams on this year’s All-American list. LSU’s Claire Coppola and Kristin Nuss earned first-team honors, the first for their program. Cal Poly’s Torrey Van Winden‘s and Tiadora Miric’s second-team honors are also the highest for that program.
UCLA’s Stein Metzger is our coach of the year after leading the Bruins to their first national championship with a 40-4 record and a 31-match win streak.
“Stein guided an experienced but young team through a challenging regular season schedule,” Georgia State coach Beth Van Fleet said. “Then he helped them overcome an early round loss at the national championship.”
The committee also noted the accomplishments of Florida State coach Brooke Niles and USC’s Anna Collier. Niles’ Seminoles made it to the NCAA final match.
“Florida State had an amazing season under Brooke, but they have been building to this point for some time,” Collier said. “The success they experienced this year is a tribute to the work that Brooke has put into shaping the culture and winning ways the program showed this spring.”
Collier’s Trojans owned the trophy the first two years of its existence. This season they finished fourth and went 27-14 overall, despite undergoing a rebuilding year.
“Anna Collier deserves credit after losing five key players from last year and getting back to a respectable finish at the NCAA’s this year,” said Holly McPeak, the former Olympian and Pac-12 and ESPN TV analyst.
VolleyballMag.com/Sand Socks All-Americans
Abril Bustamante (6-0, Jr.), and Tina Graudina (6-0, Fr.), USC
Nicole McNamara (5-9, Jr.) and Megan McNamara (5-9, Jr.), UCLA
Emily Maglio (6-3, Jr.,) and Ka’iwi Schucht (5-9, Sr.), Hawai’i
Claire Coppola (6-1, So.) and Kristen Nuss (5-6, So.), LSU
Tory Paranagua (5-11, Sr.) and Vanessa Freire (5-10, Sr.), Florida State
Corinne Quiggle (5-10, Sr.) and Deahna Kraft (6-0, So.), Pepperdine
Torrey Van Winden (6-3, So.) and Tiadora Miric (5-8, Fr.), Cal Poly
Lily Justine (5-10, So.) and Sarah Sponcil (5-10, Jr.), UCLA
Madalyn Roh (5-11, Jr.) and Brook Bauer (6-1, Fr.), Pepperdine
Federica Frasca (5-9, So.) and Margherita Bianchin (6-0, Jr.), Florida International
Nele Barber (6-0, Sr.) and Rachel Nieto (5-10, Sr.), Long Beach
Madeline Mertz (6-0, Sr.) and Kaylie McHugh (5-6, So.), Tulane
Hailey Luke (6-0, RS Sr.) and Katie Horton (6-1, RS Sr.), Florida State
Lea Monkhouse (6-0, Fr.) and Morgan Martin (6-1, So.), Hawai’i
Kathryn Plummer (6-6, So.) and Sunny Villapando (5-9, Fr.), Stanford
Annika Van Gunst (6-0, Gr.)and Teegan Van Gunst (6-0, Gr.), Georgia State
Molly Turner (5-8, Sr.) and Hannah Towne (5-11, So.), Grand Canyon
The VolleyballMag.com Beach All-American committee: Coaches Beth Van Fleet of Georgia State, Russell Brock of LSU, Anna Collier of USC; former Olympian and TV analyst Holly McPeak, and VBM co-publishers Ed Chan and Lee Feinswog.