No. 1 USC Receives Top Seed in AVCA Championship Field

    USC sophomore Sara Hughes will return to Gulf Shores, Ala., to defend her pairs crown.

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    Official AVCA Release

    2015 AVCA Team Championship Bracket

    April 20, 2015

    LEXINGTON, Ky. - The top-ranked USC women's sand volleyball team (24-0) was awarded the top seed in the upcoming 2015 AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championship set for May 1-3, in Gulf Shores, Ala. The eight-team field announced by the AVCA National Championship Selection Committee on Monday, April 20, included second-seeded Hawai'i (15-1), third-seeded Florida International (18-1), fourth-seeded Pepperdine (10-4), fifth-seeded Georgia State (18-1), sixth-seeded Florida State (13-4), seventh-seeded Long Beach State (13-4), and the Trojans' first-round opponent eighth-seeded Stetson (21-4).

    USC opens the championship tournament against the Hatters on Friday, May 1, at 8 a.m. CT (6 a.m. PT). The Trojans' top pair (possibly two) will also compete in the 16-team pairs championship set for Sunday, May 3. CBS Sports Network will televise portions of the competition in a special broadcast that will premiere on Saturday, May 23, at 1 p.m. ET.

    The Women of Troy make their third straight team appearance in the championship tourney and seek the program's first national title in the sport. USC advanced to the semifinals in each of the last two years and has also produced the championship pair in each of the last two years: Sara Hughes and Kirby Burnham (2014), and Burnham and Stevi Robinson (2013).

    The Trojans carry a program-best winning streak of 24 matches into the championships and are the top-seeded team for the second straight year. Pepperdine returns to the field as the defending champion and was also the first title winner in 2012. Long Beach State won the championship in 2013.

    For the fourth straight year, the event returns to Gulf Shores, the site of the championships since 2012. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism lead a group of community partners that includes the Gulf Coast Region of USA Volleyball, the city, and several local businesses that have hosted the event from the beginning.

    The team championship will be held Friday and Saturday, May 1-2. Each school will field five pairs ranked in order and play the corresponding pair from an opponent. The head-to-head dual matches are decided by the school that wins three of the five matches. Play will take place on championship-level beach courts that are constructed specifically for the championships. The championship match is scheduled for Saturday, May 2, at 4 p.m. CT (2 p.m. PT).

    The pairs' field includes the top duos from the schools in the team competition as well as 10 teams identified as the `Best of the Rest' from schools not in the team competition. Pairs were selected from Loyola Marymount, Louisiana-Monroe, LSU, Arizona, UAB, Grand Canyon, Tulane, College of Charleston, and UCLA.

    The pairs' championship will begin with the ten Best of the Rest duos engaged in pool play on Friday and Saturday, May 1-2. The top two finishers will be seeded into Sunday's 16-team single-elimination bracket. The eight top pairs from the team championship schools and the top two from the finalists will also be entered into Sunday's pairs championship bracket. There will be a play-in for the final two positions. First-round matches in the pairs' championship will start at 8 a.m. CT on Sunday, May 3, with the championship match later that day slated to begin at 2 p.m. CT.

    For more information on the AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball Championships, please visit For information on the USC sand volleyball team and a complete schedule, please visit and follow @USCSandVBall on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

    Gulf Shores, Ala.
    Friday-Sunday, May 1-3, 2015

    Friday, May 1 (all times Central)
    8:00 a.m. #1 USC v. #8 Stetson
    10:00 a.m. #5 Georgia State v. #4 Pepperdine
    11:00 a.m. #3 FIU v. #6 Florida State
    9:00 a.m. #7 LBSU v. #2 Hawai'i

    POOL A
    1. Betsi Metter/Sarah Sponcil (LMU)
    2. Marcela Araya/Michelle McNamee (ULM)
    3. Mandi Orellana/Katie Lindelow (LSU)
    4. McKenna Witt/Madison Witt (Arizona)
    5. Kiriana Hirini/Bethanie Thomas (UAB)

    POOL B
    1. Shannon Dugan/Mackenzie Phelps (GCU)
    2. Tea Juric/Jackie Wegner (Tulane)
    3. Madi Kingdon/Kaitlyn Leary (Arizona)
    4. Melissa Morello/Catey Warren (College of Charleston)
    5. Zoe Nightingale/Kamila Tan (UCLA)