The USA Volleyball Collegiate Beach Championships gets under way Thursday at Hermosa Beach as 30 women’s and eight men’s teams will compete for the right to represent the USA at the 2018 FISU World University Championship in Hamburg, Germany, July 9-13.
The field is headlined by NCAA runner-up Florida State, who will bring three pairs to the competition, led by their No. 1 team of Vanessa Freire and Tory Paranagua. Women’s teams from UAB, Cal, Cal Poly, FAU, Georgia State, Grand Canyon, Hawai’i, Houston Baptist, Long Beach, LSU, Loyola, North Carolina-Wilmington, Pepperdine, St. Mary’s, South Carolina, Stanford, Texas Christian, Tulane, and Washington are also in the field.
Teams from Concordia, Florida State, Hawai’i, Penn State, Pepperdine, Quincy, UC Irvine, and UCLA will comprise the men’s field.
UCLA, which won the NCAA beach championship this past Sunday, elected not to participate.
“We really put everything into this year,” UCLA coach Stein Metzger said. “They were so focused on the championship, I think they had a hard time thinking about anything that came after. Timing-wise, it was just tough for some of them.
“I think it’s great that USA is having a pairs competition, and I think it’s great for the sport. Certainly it’s going to be a great event, we took part in it last year, but this year this group decided it was a bit much for them.”
Thursday’s action is all pool play starting at 9 a.m. Pacific. The men move into their semifinals on Friday and the women the quarterfinals. The men’s final is at 11:20 a.m. Saturday, while the women’s final is at 1 p.m.
USA volleyball will stream all of the action live and Sunday’s finals will be shown on NBC Sports from 4-6 p.m. Eastern.