The top six teams just kept rolling this week in NCAA beach volleyball. Collectively, USC, Florida State, UCLA, Cal Poly, and Loyola Marymount (LSU was idle) went 18-0 in duals, while dropping only 20 sets in 90 matches.
Next week promises plenty of change as the best of the East face the best of the West in Los Angeles. Undefeated teams and pairs will fall. Look for our preview here Friday.
Our weekly beach volleyball recap reviews the top 10, the AVCA poll, pairs of the week, undefeated pairs, and notes from around the nation.
No. 1 USC (12-0)
The top-ranked Trojans collected sweeps this weekend against Oregon and Utah at the Pac-12 South tournament. Not only did USC win all 20 sets, but it reduced its opponents to single digits in seven of the sets.
Their 12-match dual win streak is the program’s fourth longest, matching its run from April 6-27, 2019.
Next up: The long-awaited East-West matchups as No. 2 Florida State visits Merle Norman stadium Saturday at 10:30 and 1 pm, followed by No. 3 LSU Sunday at the same times.
No. 2 Florida State (21-0)
The Seminoles added four wins to their undefeated record at the Gamecock Grand-Slam, sweeping No. 18 Georgia State and No. 19 Stetson, with 4-1 wins over No. 7 TCU and No. 17 South Carolina.
FSU’s had four pairs undefeated for the weekend: Torrey Van Winden-Keara Rutz, Sara Putt-Maddie Anderson, Payton Caffrey-Madison Fitzpatrick and Kate Privett and Jenna Johnson.
Next up: This weekend’s trip to USC and UCLA.
No. 3 LSU (16-2)
The Tigers had the week off and head to duals at No. 1 USC and No. 4 UCLA.
No. 4 UCLA (11-1)
The Bruins swept No. 9 Cal, No. 13 Arizona and Oregon at the Pac-12 South Invitational without dropping a set.
UCLA has swept its last four opponents, with seven sweeps on the season.
Next up: UCLA hosts No. 2 Florida State and No. 3 LSU at Mapes Beach.
No. 5 Cal Poly (13-3)
Cal Poly went 5-0 at home this past weekend, defeating No. 16 Hawai’i 3-2, No. 15 Long Beach State 4-1, and sweeping CSU Bakersfield, UC Davis and CSUN.
Of note, Cal Poly’s No. 1 pair of Emily Sonny and Macy Gordon not only won all five of their matches on the weekend, but dropped only one of 11 sets (to Long Beach).
Next up: This weekend Poly heads to Stanford for duals against No. 9 Cal and No. 12 Stanford
No. 6 Loyola Marymount (14-2)
John Mayer’s Lions won four duals this week. Loyola defeated Pepperdine twice by identical 4-1 scores, and swept both The Master’s University and Concordia Irvine, extending their win streak to eight consecutive duals. The Lions have earned 10 of their 14 wins via sweeps.
Next up: The Lions face Vanguard at home and CSUN in Northridge.
No. 7 TCU (17-4)
This week TCU added three wins and a loss to its totals, with wins over No. 17 South Carolina (4-1), No. 18 Georgia State (3-2) and No. 19 Stetson (3-2), but taking a loss to No. 2 Florida State (1-4).
TCU’s three wins against ranked opponents is its second in program history. The win against Stetson avenges an earlier 3-2 loss February 27.
Spaniards and No. 1 pair Danela Alvarez and Tania Moreno Mateeva also attained revenge from an earlier loss to Florida State’s Alaina Chacon and Molly McBain in a tight squeaker 24-22, 28-30, 17-15. Alvarez-Moreno are 18-2 on the season, all at the No. 1 position.
Next up: TCU is off for the week, returning to action at home April 9 against Houston Baptist, Tulane, and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
No. 8 Pepperdine (4-11)
Pepperdine went 2-4, sweeping both Concordia and Vanguard but losing two pairs to No. 4 UCLA (4-1, 5-0) and No. 6 Loyola Marymount (both 4-1). No. 2 Brook Bauer and Carly Skjodt were the bright spot against UCLA, edging Abby Van Winkle and Lea Monkhouse 17-21, 21-19, 18-16.
No. 2 Simone Priebe and Melanie Paul earned points for the Waves in the losses to LMU.
Next up: The Waves head to Arizona for the Arizona Invitational, matching up against Colorado Mesa, Missouri State, Grand Canyon and No. 13 Arizona.
No. 9 Cal (8-3)
Cal went 1-3 at last weekend’s Pac 12 South tournament in Arizona. UCLA greeted them Saturday with a 5-0 straight-set sweep, but the Bears bounced back to defeat Washington 3-2, with No. 1 Mima Mirkovic-Caroline Schafer, No. 2 Ainsley Radell-Jordan Polo and No. 5 Francesca Gettings-Grace Paulson earning the dual win.
Sunday proved to be less taxing, as Cal swept both Oregon and Utah, surrendering just one set in each dual.
Next up: The Bears head to Stanford Saturday for a doubleheader against Cal Poly and Stanford.
No. 10 Grand Canyon (9-4)
GCU went 2-1 this week with a sweep of Utah, a 4-1 win over Arizona State and a 3-2 loss to No. 12 Stanford. The Stanford dual came down to the wire, with the Cardinal’s Maddi Kriz and Maya Harvey edging GCU’s Paula Hoffman and Madi Relaz 21-18, 21-18.
Next up: The Lopes are off to nearby Tucson for the Arizona Invitational against No. 8 Pepperdine, No. 13 Arizona, UC Davis and Colorado Mesa.
The top of the poll was virtually unchanged, with no movement within the top six. TCU and Cal moved up two spots to No. 7 and No. 9, with Pepperdine dropping a spot to No. 8 and Grand Canyon falling two notches to No. 10.
Long Beach State vaulted from 19th to 15th, while South Carolina dropped two to No. 17 and Stetson fell from three to No. 19.
Georgia State dropped a spot to No. 18 while Florida Gulf Coast stayed steady at No. 20, with Tulane, Coastal Carolina, UAB and Boise State receiving votes.
Pairs of the Week
AVCA — Stanford freshmen Xolani Hodel and Kate Reilly ran up six wins last week, adding to their 10-match win streak. The No. 2 pair is 11-2 on the year.
This week Hodel and Reilly defeated pairs from Grand Canyon, Arizona State (twice), Utah, Arizona and Washington. The weekly award is Stanford’s first.
CCSA — Florida Atlantic’s Erica Brok and Mackenzie Morris earned the Pair of the Week nod after a 4-0 week at the No. 1 spot, with wins over Tulane, FIU, FGCU and Tampa. This was from March 24.
In doing so, the pair tied the program record for wins with 66, currently on a nine-match win streak.
Big West — Cal Poly’s Emily Sonny and Macy Gordon garnered the Big West’s Pair of the Week honors for the third consecutive week, their fourth total. The Mustang’s No. 1 pair ran the table against Big West opponents this weekend with a 5-0 record. Sonny and Gordon have a team-best 12-3 season record.
This week the pair defeated CSUN, Hawai’i, Cal State Bakersfield, UC Davis and Long Beach State.
ASUN — Florida Gulf Coast’s Kayla Whetstone and Kacie Johnston and Stetson’s Ana Costa and Carly Perales were named Co-Pair of the Week. This was from March 24.
Whetstone and Johnston defeated both Stetson and UAB at the No. 2 slot, helping the Eagles to a win over No. 14 Stetson, the program’s highest-ranked victory.
No. 1 Costa and Perales went 3-1 on the week, with victories over Florida State, UAB and FGCU, with the lone loss at the hands of FAU.
The weekly award is Perales’ fifth, Costa’s third. Perales tied the program’s win record at 96, while Costa reached the 50-win milestone.
Five weeks in, there are only six undefeated pairs remaining in NCAA beach volleyball. At the top slot, LSU’s Kristen Nuss and Taryn Kloth (18-0) and USC’s Tina Graudina and Sammy Slater (11-0) will meet next Sunday.
No. 3 has only Sara Putt and Maddie Anderson of FSU with a 20-0 record.
GCU’s No. 4s, Allanis Navis and Paula Hoffman are 10-0.
At the No. 5 position, until next week it’s Florida State’s Kate Privett and Jenna Johnson and USC’s Nicole Nourse and Audrey Nourse. Presumably they will meet Saturday at USC.
Around the Nation
UNF (13-5) swept a pair of duals against Jacksonville at the Cooper Beach volleyball complex. The Ospreys are 11-1 at The Coop this year and scored their 11th sweep of the season. UNF’s Callie Workman reached a milestone 50th win after she and partner Taryn Griffey defeated Jacksonville’s Morgan Dees-Shaylee Befus 21-17, 23-21.
Coastal Carolina (14-4) had an undefeated week, sweeping Erskine and Carson-Newman twice each at home in the Coastal Carolina beach volleyball complex. Sunday the Chants’ senior day recognized seniors Kalin Eske (10-4) and Kendra Lukacs (11-4).
No. 11 Florida Atlantic (11-5) went 4-0 at the FIU Surf N’ Turf Invitational, with a trio of 3-2 wins over Tulane, FIU and FGCU, and a 4-1 win over Tampa. The Owls have won seven of their last eight, losing only to No. 2 Florida State. Ellie Austin and Kenley Adams are on a six-match win streak.
It’s always interesting when transfers come up against their former teams for the first time, as when Cal Poly’s grad student Amy Ozee faced Hawai’i on Saturday. Hawai’i won the matchup as UH’s Pani Napoleon and Jaime Santer defeated Ozee and Jayelin Lombard for the Beachbows’ only point 24-22, 21-16.