NCAA beach: Bracket announcement Sunday after USC, Cal Poly win league titles

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NCAA beach volleyball 4/28/2019
USC team captain Abril Bustamante leads the celebration for USC/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

Now the college beach volleyball world waits.

The NCAA will announce the eight-team field at 7 p.m. Eastern Sunday for the National Collegiate Championships that begin Friday in Gulf Shores.

And after USC won the Pac-12 Championship on Saturday, it’s hard to imagine the Trojans won’t be the top seed, with the team they beat in back-to-back days, UCLA, the second seed. It’s likely that Florida State will be No. 3 and LSU fourth.

Certainly Cal Poly strengthened its case by winning the Big West on Saturday when it beat Hawai’i, another team that has to feel confident of a bid. The NCAA takes three teams from the East, three from the West and two at-larges. The announcement will be shown on NCAA.com.

We also have a Pac-12 photo gallery from Saturday’s action.

UCLA had to beat Cal to get into the final, which it did in short order, 3-0. Then the Bruins got off to a quick start against USC, winning 2-0 at Nos. 4 and 5.

But USC came back and swept at Nos. 1, 2, and 3, clinching when Terese Cannon and Sammy Slater beat Lily Justine and Sarah Sponcil 18-21, 21-16, 15-12.

“Honestly, we’ve been there before. We pulled ourselves together, and said, ‘It doesn’t matter. Let’s come out and win our matches, because that’s all that matters right now. We can’t do anything about what happens over there, so let’s take care of our job,’ and that’s what we did,” Slater said.

“It’s awesome having this win under our belt at Gulf Shores, because it shows that we’re progressively getting better and peaking towards the end of the season, which is exactly what we’re trying to do.”

USC coach Anna Collier, whose team won the first two NCAA titles and then saw UCLA capture the crown last year, said Saturday was a big day for college beach volleyball.

“Here we go, another round of USC-UCLA beach volleyball. It just grows the sport. I mean, (UCLA coach) Stein Metzger has such an amazing program over there, I haven’t been able to congratulate him yet, but he’s built that up to be an amazing program,” Collier said. 

“And I appreciate that, because I want to compete like this. I want this to come down to the end. I want this on television.

“I’ve said it before, I want every little girl in the country to watch this and say, ‘I want to grow up and play beach volleyball in college.’

“And they will if they see this and see the excitement and the energy, and the love between the girls. It’s just an amazing environment and everybody, coaches, athletes, staff, are having an amazing experience.”

Click here for the Pac-12 recap of Saturday’s action and results.

NCAA beach volleyball 4/28/2019
Hawai’i’s Pani Napoleon goes all out for a dig in Big West tourney competition/George Davison photography

Cal Poly, ranked eighth in the AVCA poll and seeded second in the Big West tournament, knocked off top-seeded and No. 5 Hawai’i twice, beating the Sandbows 4-1 in the semifinals and then 3-2 in the final.

It came down to the No. 5 pairs when Vanessa Roscoe and Brayden Gruenewald beat Paige Dreeuws and Sofia Russo 21-18, 19-21, 21-19

After losing the first match Saturday, Hawai’i had to beat 10th-ranked Long Beach State to get into the final and did 3-2.

Read more about Cal Poly’s victory here.

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