Ed Chan’s photos from Thursday’s action follows the league’s news release from the first day of the Pac-12 Beach Volleyball Championship:
LOS ANGELES — The first day of the Pac-12 Beach Volleyball Championship saw the defending champion and top-ranked team in the country UCLA cruise into Friday’s quarterfinal round at Norman Merle Stadium on the campus of USC. Three of the championship’s top-four seeds won their opening dual, including second-seeded and second-ranked USC and fourth-seeded Arizona.
The day also featured the first No. 6 seed to advance in the winners bracket as Arizona State upset third-seeded California in a thrilling 3-2 win with the deciding match going three sets. ASU’s Katelyn Carballo and Katie Cross claimed a tight third-set, 15-12, to take the best-of-three match victory over Cal’s Maddie Micheletti and Jordan Polo.
The day opened with Oregon posting its first-ever win in the championship. The ninth-seeded Ducks topped eighth-seeded Utah, 3-1. UO’s Elise Ferreira and Carly Wallace forced a third set on court No. 5 after going down, 1-0, then won the third, 15-12, to give Oregon a 2-0 dual lead. Utah’s Megan Yett and Kenzie Koerber won in straight sets on the No. 2 court to help Utah close the gap in the dual, 2-1. But the top pair of Brooke Nuneviller and Lindsey Vander Weide was a three-set winner over the Utes’ Dani Drew and Tawnee Luafalemana, giving Oregon the third and deciding point before play was suspended.
Seventh-seeded Washington bounced back from a 3-0 loss to the Trojans and outlasted the Utes, 3-2, in the contenders bracket. The Huskies and the Utes split the first flight of matches, with UW’s Emma Calle and Samantha Dreschel claiming the point at court No. 4, but Utah’s Keana Smalls and Kinga Windisch claimed the point at court five. The No. 1s and No. 2s also split their duals in the second flight, leaving the deciding match at court No. 3. Washington’s Cat McCoy and Avie Niece won the first set (21-18) but Utah’s Lauren Sproule and Jessica Villela responded in the next set with a 21-18 victory. Neither team wanted to relent, but McCoy and Niece eventually took the win in the third set, 16-14, to give the team the dual victory.
The Wildcats won, 3-0, over Stanford in the second match of the day but two of the deciding three matches were three setters, and the final two were in the third set before play was suspended due to decision. UCLA also had a straight-set win over Oregon in the third match of the day to easily advance in the winners bracket. USC also did not spend much time getting the straight-set win over Washington in match No. 5. And the Cardinal closed out the day with a decisive 3-0 win over Oregon in the day’s seventh and final dual.
The action continues on Friday with the Washington and California playing to stay alive in the double-elimination tournament starting at 9 a.m. PT, followed by a quarterfinal matchup between USC and Arizona State at 10:30 a.m., then UCLA taking on Arizona at noon. Stanford will wait for its opponent in the contender’s bracket at 1:30 p.m. In total, another seven duals will be played on Friday with just two matches slated for Saturday, including the championship dual.
The Pac-12 Beach Volleyball Championship airs live across Pac-12 Networks and on the Pac-12 Now app. For updated scores and bracket throughout the championship, visit http://pac-12.com/beach-volleyball/championship.