By the conclusion of Saturday, the entire top 15 in the pre-season AVCA beach volleyball poll had been in action, and there were some huge early shakeups to the second season of NCAA Championship volleyball.
The top-ranked USC Trojans opened their weekend with a 2-0 day that asserted their dominance as heavy favorites to repeat as national champions. They beat the other two top teams on the west coast at the Pepperdine Invitational, with a 3-2 win over #3 UCLA and a 4-1 win over #4 Pepperdine. That included a sweep from the Trojans’ All-American #1s Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes.
Elsewhere on the west coast, Arizona State had a historic moment in program history with their first-ever win over a top-10 program. The Sun Devils beat #6 Arizona 3-2. With only a loss to #5 Hawaii on their resume so far this season, expect Arizona State to move from just outside, to well inside, the national rankings when they’re released early this week.
Also out west, the indoor NCAA champions from Stanford got their first taste of the beach with a 2-0 day against Santa Clara and Cal Poly. Freshmen Kathryn Plummer and Jenna Gray started with a 2-0 win over Hess/Kantor from Santa Clara at the #1 line, but then lost by the reverse score against Cal Poly’s Sonny/Hubbard in the second game of the day. Plummer, at 6’6″, was the NCAA’s 2016 indoor Freshman of the Year.
Out east, the defending NCAA runners-up from Florida State also started their season well with a pair of dominant top-10 wins over #10 LSU and #8 Stetson. The Seminoles’ two counting losses in the game came on court 5 against LSU (Katie Horton and Molly McBain fell to the Tigers’ Cati Leak and Maddie Ligon), while against Stetson Vanessa Freire and Francesca Goncalves fell to Darby Dunn and Kristen Lind of Stetson.
The Seminoles did lose both of their 6th-court exhibition games as well, which causes some concern over their depth this season.
Full 3/4/2017 Results:
|Winning Team||Losing Team||Score||Winning Team Recap||Losing Team Recap|
|#1 USC||#3 UCLA||3-2||Link||Link|
|#1 USC||#4 Pepperdine||4-1||Link||Link|
|#2 Florida State||#10 LSU||4-1||Link||Link|
|#2 Florida State||#8 Stetson||4-1||Link||Link|
|#4 Pepperdine||#3 UCLA||3-2||Link||Link|
|#5 Hawaii||#12 Grand Canyon||4-1||Link||Link|
|Arizona State||#6 Arizona||3-2||Link||Link|
|#7 Long Beach State||CSU Bakersfield||5-0||Link||Link|
|#7 Long Beach State||Irvine Valley||5-0||Link||Link|
|#8 Georgia State||UNCW||4-1||Link||Link|
|#8 Georgia State||College of Charleston||5-0||Link||Link|
|#9 Stetson||Florida Atlantic||3-2||Link||Link|
|Florida Atlantic||#10 LSU||3-2||Link||Link|
|South Carolina||#11 FIU||3-2||Link||Link|
|#11 FIU||North Florida||5-0||Link||Link|
|#12 Grand Canyon||TCU||3-2||Link||Link|
|#12 Grand Canyon||Loyola Marymount||3-2||Link||Link|
|#13 Stanford||Santa Clara||5-0||Link||Link|
|#13 Stanford||Cal Poly||4-1||Link||Link|
|#14 Cal||St. Mary’s||3-2||Link||Link|
|#15 Tulane||Jacksonville State||5-0||Link||Link|
|New Mexico||Colorado Mesa||4-1||Link||Link|
|South Carolina||Spring Hill||5-0||Link||Link|
|UNC Wilmington||North Florida||3-2||Link||Link|
|College of Charleston||Spring Hill||5-0||Link||Link|
|CSU Bakersfield||Irvine Valley||5-0||Link||Link|
|St. Mary’s||Santa Clara||4-1||Link||Link|
|UL Monroe||Jacksonville State||Link||Link|
|New Orleans||Austin Peay||5-0||Link||Link|
|Texas A&M – Kingsville||Stevenson||5-0||Link||Link|
|Texas A&M Kingsville||Missouri Baptist||3-2||Link||Link|