The LSU beach volleyball team became the first team from the East region ever to earn an at-large bid to the 2018 NCAA Beach Championships, receiving the No. 7 seed on Sunday. This is the second year in a row that the Tigers have earned a berth to the NCAA Championships.
LSU (26-12) will square off with No. 2 Pepperdine (24-3) at 11 a.m. CT on Friday, May 4, at Gulf Place in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
The winner of the LSU-Pepperdine match will take on the winner of No. 3 Hawaii against No. 6 South Carolina on Friday at 4 p.m. CT. The loser of the match will have an opportunity to earn its way to the championship through the double elimination format starting at 2 p.m.
“Being the first East Region at-large team is good,” said LSU head coach Russell Brock. “We needed all the head-to-head wins that we got against west coast teams this season. Every year that our program has grown, we’ve had some firsts and some are more significant than others. First time last year to go to nationals was a huge first and to have a good enough resume to get an at-large bid this season is probably more difficult than some of the other firsts that we’ve had. We’re grateful for the opportunity to go and compete again in Gulf Shores.”
For the first time, the NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship will be broadcast by the ESPN family of networks. Additionally, ESPN3 will provide online coverage of every match throughout the tournament. Fans can also watch on their mobile devices at WatchESPN.
“When you tag ESPN on the back end of the sport that you’re playing, there is a legitimacy to it,” said Brock. “That’s a great addition this year. Anytime that they’re a part of it, you know that it will be a quality event. We know it’s just going to be that much more exciting.”
In just its fifth year of existence, the LSU beach volleyball program has continued to improve and needs just two wins to surpass last year’s win total. This is the second-straight season that the Tigers have had more than 25 wins and the third year in a row to mark at least 20 victories.
Winners of 19 of their last 22 matches, the Tigers are playing their best volleyball right now and earned their first trip to the CCSA Championship match two weeks ago in Emerson, Georgia. In that stretch of 22 matches, the Tigers have defeated 10 AVCA Top-20 teams and will look to keep up their quality play heading into the national postseason.
“We continued to work hard throughout our season and even though we had a little bit of a rough start, we didn’t let that stop us and we continued to get better and better every week,” said sophomore Claire Coppola.
2018 NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship – Schedule
Gulf Shores, Alabama
May 4-6, 2018
All Times are Central.
Match 1: No. 1 UCLA vs. No. 8 FIU, 9 a.m., ESPNU
Match 2: No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 5 USC, 10 a.m., ESPNU
Match 3: No. 2 Pepperdine vs. No. 7 LSU, 11 a.m., ESPNU
Match 4: No. 3 Hawai’i vs. No. 6 South Carolina, Noon, ESPNU
Match 5: Loser Match 1 vs. Loser Match 2, 1 p.m., ESPNU
Match 6: Loser Match 3 vs. Loser Match 4, 2 p.m., ESPNU
Match 7: Winner Match 1 vs. Winner Match 2, 3 p.m., ESPNU
Match 8: Winner Match 4 vs. Winner Match 3, 4 p.m., ESPNU
Match 9: Loser Match 8 vs. Winner Match 5, 1 p.m., ESPN2
Match 10: Winner Match 6 vs. Loser Match 7, 2 p.m., ESPN2
Match 11: Winner Match 7 vs. Winner Match 8, 3 p.m., ESPN2
Match 12: Winner Match 9 vs Winner Match 10, 4 p.m., ESPN2
Match 13: Loser Match 11 vs. Winner Match 12, 10:30 a.m., ESPN2
Championship: Winner Match 11 vs. Winner Match 13, 1 p.m., ESPN
(Press Release Provided by LSU Athletics)