No. 1 USC Sand Volleyball Receives Top Seed in AVCA National Championship

    USC senior captain Sam Hirschmann

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    April 21, 2014

    LOS ANGELES - The No. 1-ranked USC women's sand volleyball team will hold the top seed in the 2014 AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championships set to take place in Gulf Shores, Ala., May 2-4. The Women of Troy (20-1) will get a first-round bye and face the winner of a match between fourth-seeded Hawaii (18-3) and fifth-seeded Florida International (14-2) on Friday, May 2, at noon CT.

    The Trojans receive their second straight team bid to the championships. In the inaugural sand volleyball championships, USC sent two pairs to the individual tournament. Last season, the Women of Troy earned their first team entry into the event as the fourth seed. This time, USC enters the team portion of the championships as the top-seeded selection. Both Hawaii and FIU are making their first team appearances in the championship.

    Third-seeded Florida State (16-1) and sixth-seeded Stetson (18-4) will play in the first round with the winner advancing to meet second-seeded Pepperdine (15-1) at 1 p.m. CT on May 2. Semifinals are set for 11 a.m. and noon CT on May 3 with the championship match to be played at 3:30 p.m., and taped for broadcast on CBS Sports Network.

    The third-annual AVCA national championships will also feature a 16-team pairs championship. The Pairs field includes the top duos from the schools in the team competition as well as ten doubles teams identified as the `Best of the Rest' from schools not in the team competition. Pairs were selected from Long Beach State, North Florida, Grand Canyon, Louisiana Monroe, Jacksonville, Saint Mary's College, Loyola Marymount, Tulane, and UAB. All participants in the championships were chosen based on results from the 2014 collegiate sand volleyball season, which began in March. The 2014 season featured 40 participating programs, a landmark number that cements the status of sand volleyball as the fastest-growing NCAA emerging sport and puts it on track for NCAA Championship status by 2016.

    CBS Sports Network will televise portions of the championships in a two-hour special that will have three airings: Monday, May 26 (7 p.m. ET), Friday, May 30 (7:30 p.m. ET), and Monday, June 2 (7 p.m. ET).

    This 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 will host the event through 2015.

    The team championship will be held Friday-Saturday, May 2-3. Each of the six schools will field five doubles teams, ranked in order, and plays the corresponding pair from an opponent. The dual matches are decided by the school that wins three of the five matches. Play begins at 9 a.m. CT on five championship beach courts that are constructed specifically for this event. The championship consists of nine school-versus-school dual matchups over the two days with the finals beginning at 3:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, May 3.

    The pairs championship will begin with the ten Best of the Rest duos in pool play on Friday-Saturday, May 2-3. The top two finishers will be seeded into Sunday's 16-team single-elimination bracket. The top six pairs from the team championship schools and the top two from the four semi-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 4. The semifinals, scheduled to start at noon, and the championship match, slated for 2 p.m., will be covered by CBS Sports Network.

    Pepperdine won the inaugural AVCA team and pairs championships in 2012. Long Beach State defeated Pepperdine in 2013 for the team title while USC's Kirby Burnham and Stevi Robinson took home the pairs crown.

    The top-ranked Trojans will wrap up the regular season with a pair of duals against Arizona and Boise State on Saturday, April 26, in Tucson, Ariz. For up-to-date information on the USC women's sand volleyball team and a complete schedule, please visit Fans can follow the team on Twitter (@USCSandVBall), Instagram (USCSandVBall), and on Facebook (USCSandVBall).

    Gulf Shores, Ala.
    May 2-4, 2014


    Friday, May 2

    9:00 a.m. #4 Hawai’i vs. #5 Florida International
    10:00 a.m. #3 Florida State vs. #6 Stetson
    12:00 p.m. #1 USC vs. Winner #4/#5
    1:00 p.m. #2 Pepperdine vs. Winner #3/#6
    4:00 p.m. Loser #4/#5 vs. Loser of 1 p.m. match
    5:00 p.m.   Loser #3/#6 vs. Loser of 12 p.m. match

    Saturday, May 3

    11:00 a.m. Semifinal #1
    12:00 p.m. Semifinal #2
    3:30 p.m. Championship Match


    Friday, May 2
    11 a.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. – Pool Play Matches

    Saturday, May 3
    9 a.m., 10 a.m., 1 p.m. – Pool Play Matches
    2 p.m. – Play-in Matches

    POOL A
    1. Delainey Aigner-Swesey/Bojana Tordorovic (LBSU)
    2. Zuzana Markova/Marcela Araya (Louisiana Monroe)
    3. Taylor Nyquist/Sammie Strausbaugh (Jacksonville)
    4. Betsi Metter/Litara Keil (Loyola Marymount)
    5. Kiriana Hirini/Bethanie Thomas (UAB)

    POOL B
    1. Dagnija Medina/Kim Hildreth (North Florida)
    2. Kenzie Phelps/Kelli Dallmann (Grand Canyon)
    3. Tyler Jackson/Janisa Johnson (LBSU)
    4. Jordan Shaw/Samantha Tinsley (Saint Mary’s)
    5. Tea Juric/Jackie Wegner (Tulane)