Long Beach’s Savannah Standage hits against Cal Poly’s Piper Ferch in the Big West Championship/Mark Rigney photo

A national champion in college beach volleyball will be crowned this weekend on the white sand in Gulf Shores, Alabama. It’s the last installment of the NCAA’s National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship on the Redneck Riviera before the tournament moves to “Surf City,” Huntington Beach, California.
We take a deep-dive capsule look into all 17 teams in the NCAA bracket that will vie on Friday in the first round of the single-elimination competition. The quarterfinals and semifinals are scheduled for Saturday, with the championship dual set for Sunday at 11 a.m. Eastern.    

No. 1 USC vs. No. 16 North Florida or No. 17 Chattanooga 

Record: 33-5 (No. 1 in the AVCA poll).
Coach: Dain Blanton, fifth season.
Projected lineup (record for the pair on all courts):
No. 1: Megan Kraft and Delaynie Maple (33-4).
No. 2: Madison White (28-6 overall) and Maddi Kriz (27-7 overall).
No. 3: Audrey Nourse and Nicole Nourse (29-7).
No. 4: Ashley Pater (25-4 overall) and Grace Seits (29-5 overall).
No. 5: Mabyn Thomas (21-6 overall) and Madison Goellner (12-4 overall).

Megan Kraft-Dain Blanton-Delaynie Maple-USC beach volleyball
Megan Kraft, Dain Blanton, and Delaynie Maple celebrate their 2023 title/USC photo

Synopsis: USC was the automatic qualifier out of the Pac-12 as its tournament winner in the Conference of Champions’ final season, defeating archrival UCLA 3-0 in the title dual. The Women of Troy will shoot to extend their streak of national beach titles to four. They did not meet North Florida or UT-Chattanooga, who will square off in the play-in dual, during the regular season. USC’s pairs at the 1s, 3s and 4s are No. 1 nationally in the latest TruVolley statistical rankings, while its 2s are No. 3 and 5s No. 6. Cumulatively, USC pairs won 81.5% of their matches (150-34). The battle-tested Women of Troy are 3-3 against UCLA, 2-1 against Stanford and their other loss came at LSU. They hold victories over Florida State, Cal Poly, TCU (three times), California (twice), Long Beach State (twice), Hawaii (twice), Loyola Marymount (three times), Arizona State and Washington. Another player who might see action for USC is Ainsley Radell (17-7), while Maddi Kriz and Grace Seits were 20-4 as a pair before Coach Dain Blanton put the grad transfers with other partners. Despite their gaudy record, top pair Megan Kraft and Delaynie Maple have shown a bit of vulnerability over the last few weeks.

North Florida
Record: 24-11 (No. 16 in the AVCA poll).
Coach: Doug Wright, third season.
Projected lineup (record for the pair on all courts):
No. 1: Michaela Rezentes and Taylor Pierce (17-15).
No. 2: Presley Murray and Madison Espy (19-13).
No. 3: Iris Fletcher and Katie Camp (17-2).
No. 4: Cameron Humphries and Hayden Wooldridge (24-7).
No. 5: Mariana Fel. Sanchez and Mackenzie Murphy (24-4).

Synopsis: The Ospreys out of Jacksonville will debut in the NCAA tournament as the automatic qualifier from the Atlantic Sun Conference. North Florida competed in the 2013 AVCA Sand Nationals (the precursor to the NCAAs), going 0-2. The Ospreys notched their fifth ASUN tournament title, sweeping their four duals, including victories over host Stetson (ranked 16th nationally) in the semifinal and final, and will carry a seven-dual winning streak into the NCAAs. North Florida’s best victories have come against Stetson (three times), Florida Atlantic, South Carolina, North Alabama (twice), Florida Gulf Coast and Alabama-Birmingham. The Ospreys’ lower courts have been highly productive: Their 3s pairs is ranked eighth nationally by TruVolley and their 5s ninth. North Florida and play-in opponent Chattanooga have never met.

Record: 19-9 (Unranked).
Coach: Darin Van Horn, fifth season.
Projected lineup (record for the pair on all courts):
No. 1: Neva Clark and Corina Vale (14-11).
No. 2: Gylian Finch and McKenna Faychak (13-6).
No. 3: Joy Courtright and Maddie Lecik (13-7).
No. 4: Kaye Gresham and Paige Gallentine (16-7).
No. 5: Morgan Romano and Julia Lawrence (14-1).

Synopsis: UT Chattanooga has made steady improvement under Ohio Valley Conference coach of the year Darin Van Horn – 0-3 in the COVID 202 season, to 8-11, 17-14 and 19-15 in 2023 – culminated by this first trip to the NCAA tournament. The Mocs were conference co-champions during the 2024 regular season with a 9-1 record and went 3-0 in the OVC tourney to snag the league’s automatic bid. Neva Clark, a junior, is the OVC’s back-to-back player of the year, Clark and Corina Vale were the league’s pair of the year and Vale was named the top freshman. Chattanooga’s most notable victory came over North Alabama by a 3-2 margin, and the Mocs (ranked 33rd by TruVolley and winners of eight in a row) lost to Florida International, South Carolina and Coastal Carolina (twice) while playing mainly against OVC opposition. The winner of the play-in dual will meet top-seeded USC later on Friday.

Lexy Denaburg saves a ball against Long Beach in March/Will Chu Photography

No. 2 UCLA vs. No. 15 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 

Record: 32-6 (No. 2 in the AVCA poll).
Coach: Jenny Johnson Jordan, first season.
Projected lineup (record for the pair on all courts):
No. 1: Maggie Boyd and Lexy Denaburg (30-7).
No. 2: Peri Brennan and Devon Newberry (31-5).
No. 3: Kenzie Brower and Jessie Smith (21-11).
No. 4: Jaden Whitmarsh and Tessa Van Winkle (24-11).
No. 5: Ensley Alden and Natalie Myszkowski (27-4).

Synopsis: UCLA and USC were on a seasonlong see-saw at the top of the weekly AVCA poll, depending mainly on which team prevailed in the latest of their six meetings, of which each won three. An at-large selection into the NCAA field, the Bruins took tournament-title duals over USC in the season-opening Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Classic in Hawaii and at the high-profile Center of Effort Challenge at Cal Poly, but the Women of Troy claimed top honors last weekend in the Pac-12 tournament, after UCLA sent USC into the contenders bracket earlier on the final day. In her first season at the helm, Coach Jenny Johnson Jordan has utilized a stable lineup with top-to-bottom talent. TruVolley ranks the Bruins pairs thusly: 1s (2), 2s (1), 3s (3), 4s (3) 5s (1). UCLA’s other losses came against Stanford (twice) and Loyola Marymount, and the Bruins have taken down Stanford (twice), Florida State (twice), TCU, Cal Poly (twice), Cal (twice), Long Beach State (twice), Loyola Marymount (twice), Hawaii (twice), LSU (twice), Arizona State, Washington (twice) and Georgia State. That’s W’s over 13 of the other 16 teams in the NCAA draw, beating 10 more than once. UCLA is 2-0 all-time against Texas A&M Corpus Christi, including a 3-0 triumph in the first round of the 2023 NCAAs.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Record: 28-9 (No. 20 in the AVCA poll).
Coach: Gayle Stammer, eighth season.
Projected lineup (record for the pair on all courts):
No. 1: Cassie Dodd and Chloe Tome (23-6).
No. 2: Kristin Bobay and Madison Morrow (22-15).
No. 3: Stephanie Young and Hannah Doyle (19-8).
No. 4: Kela Moreno and Elizabeth Cortez (16-6).
No. 5: Jade Bennett (6-3 overall) and Tori Johnson (23-9 overall).

Synopsis: Texas A&M-Corpus Christi will make its third consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament as Coach Gayle Stammer’s program has become a consistent jewel among the mid-majors. The Islanders are the automatic qualifiers from the Southland Conference, getting a tough 3-2 tussle in the tournament final from a solid Boise State bunch that went 32-11, bouncing back from a 3-2 loss to those same Broncos that sent them to the contenders bracket. TAMUCC, which is undefeated against Southland competition all-time during the regular season, ventured out of its comfort zone in scheduling, and was rewarded by breaking into the AVCA Top 20. The Islanders split against Tulane and Alabama-Birmingham, topped NCAA qualifier North Florida and nationally ranked Florida Atlantic, and avoided sweeps in losses to Stanford, Cal Poly and LSU. But they lost four in a row heading into the Southland tournament, including an eyebrow-raising 4-1 setback to independent Texas (7-8). Raven Jordan (16-9) is another serviceable lower-courts option for Stammer.

No. 3 Stanford vs. No. 14 Georgia State

Record: 31-5 (No. 3 in the AVCA poll).
Coach: Andrew Fuller, eighth season.
Projected lineup (record for the pair on all courts):
No. 1: Xolani Hodel and Brooke Rockwell (24-10).
No. 2: Rudy Sorra and Taylor Wilson (24-6).
No. 3: Kelly Belardi (27-8 overall) and Chloe Hoffman (27-8 overall).
No. 4: Kate Reilly (28-5 overall) and Clara Stowell (26-4 overall).
No. 5: Maya Harvey (20-8 overall) and Ashley Vincent (25-9 overall).

Synopsis: Stanford has beaten USC and UCLA (twice), which should be enough to give the Cardinal a legitimate shot at an NCAA title in a single-elimination event. If recent form provides a harbinger, however, during the Pac-12 tournament last weekend, Stanford lost 3-0 to UCLA and 3-1 to USC. An at-large choice out of the powerful Pac-12, the Cardinal will make their fourth consecutive trip to the NCAAs. In 2023, they were bounced in the second round by TCU 3-0. Although conventional wisdom might say youthful Stanford is a year away, Coach Andrew Fuller seemingly has accelerated that schedule with a lineup that features four precocious freshmen. A fixture at the 1s, Brooke Rockwell is a prime candidate for national freshman of the year. The team’s TruVolley pairs breakdown: 1s (6), 2s (4), 3s (4), 4s (2), 5s (5). The Cardinal have lost only to USC (twice), UCLA (twice) and Arizona State (in Tempe), and they also have taken down Loyola Marymount, Hawaii, TCU (twice), California (twice), North Florida, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, LSU, Florida State, Arizona State and Washington (three times). Their meeting in the NCAAs will be the first between Stanford and Georgia State.

Georgia State
Record: 26-12 (No. 14 in the AVCA poll).
Coach: Beth Van Fleet, 12th season.
Projected lineup (record for the pair on all courts):
No. 1: Angel Ferary and Bella Ferary (25-13).
No. 2: Aree Keller and Lila Bordis (28-9).
No. 3: Destiny White and Savannah Ebarb (23-9).
No. 4: Elise Saga (20-16 overall) and Aliisa Vuorinen (16-13 overall).
No. 5: Courtney Smith (8-4 overall) and Ayla Johnson (17-20 overall).

Synopsis: Consistently excellent mid-major Georgia State will make its third consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament, qualifying as the tournament champion out of the Sun Belt Conference. The Sandy Panthers were ousted from the NCAAs last year during the opening round by eventual national champion USC 3-0. Their highlight moments this season came when they knocked off Washington and topped Boise State twice during the same weekend in Seattle, and when they upset LSU 3-2 on home sand in Atlanta. The lowlight for Sun Belt coach of the year Beth Van Fleet’s squad was an 0-for-4 effort against UCLA, Cal, Loyola Marymount and Hawaii during the East Meets West showcase. Its resume also includes victories over Stetson, South Carolina (twice), back-to-back Division-II national champion Tampa (twice) and Florida Atlantic. Redshirt Junior Aree Keller, a transfer from South Carolina, was the Sun Belt’s newcomer of the year.

No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 13 Washington

Florida State
Record: 30-7 (No. 4 in AVCA poll).
Coach: Brooke Niles, ninth season.
Projected lineup (record for the pair on all courts):
No. 1: Maddie Anderson (21-8 overall) and Alexis Durish (27-7 overall).
No. 2: Alli Hansen (26-8 overall) and Anna Long (21-5 overall).
No. 3: Skyler Germann (15-3 overall) and Morgan Chacon (7-1 overall).
No. 4: Audrey Koenig (29-7 overall) and Raelyn White (30-6 overall).
No. 5: Caitlin Moon (19-4 overall) and Kaileigh Truslow (14-4 overall).

Synopsis: Florida State owns a grand tradition in the NCAA tournament, playing in it every season with three runners-up finishes (2016, ‘17 and ‘22). The Seminoles were ousted in the semifinals last season by UCLA 3-0. A No. 4 seeding might suggest that Coach Brooke Niles’ program possesses championship potential, but FSU was unable to put up a “W” in five duals against USC, UCLA and Stanford, and also lost to Cal and Loyola Marymount. The Seminoles were the automatic qualifier as tournament champion of the four-team CCSA (for the seventh time), and have beaten Cal Poly, Loyola Marymount, Cal, LSU (twice) Georgia State, Hawaii, North Florida (twice) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The Seminoles enjoy an abundance of talent, but Niles has shuffled her lineup as the season has progressed in an effort to find the right combinations. TruVolley rates their pairs as follows: 1s (5), 2s (5) 3s (2), 4s (7), 5s (4). FSU is 2-0 all-time against Washington, both victories coming during the 2023 regular season.

Record: 20-15 (No. 13 in the AVCA poll).
Coach: Derek Olsen, third season.
Projected lineup (record for the pair on all courts):
No. 1: Piper Monk-Heidrich (17-17 overall) and Maggy Rabitsch (20-14 overall).
No. 2: Zoey Henson (25-9 overall) and Lauren Wilcock (22-12 overall).
No. 3: Kierstyn Barton (13-13 overall) and Kendall Mather (19-15 overall).
No. 4: Scarlett Dahl (16-17 overall) and Josie Ulrich (10-11 overall).
No. 5: Brooke Balue (17-17) and Sarah Wilcock (13-8).

Synopsis: Washington was one of five teams from the Pac-12 tabbed by the selection committee for at-large bids and will make its NCAA tournament debut. Coach Derek Olson reaped the benefits of a stacked freshmen class, with 50% of his lineup consisting of first-year players: Maggy Ratitsch, Zoey Henson, Kierstyn Barton, Brooke Balue and Sarah Wilcock. Henson and junior Lauren Wilcock were honored by the AVCA as the national pair of the week on April 9. The Huskies went 3-15 against teams that made the 2024 NCAA tournament field, with the victories coming against Cal, Arizona State and Georgia State. A 4-1 head-to-head “W” over bubble-sitting Florida International might well have tipped the eighth and final at-large bid Washington’s way.

No. 5 Cal Poly vs. No. 12 Arizona State

Cal Poly
Record: 29-6 (No. 6 in the AVCA poll).
Coach: Todd Rogers, ninth season.
Projected lineup (record for the pair on all courts):
No. 1: Ella Connor and Izzy Martinez (25-8).
No. 2: Piper Ferch and Erin Inskeep (28-5).
No. 3: Quinn Perry (29-6 overall) and Lindsey Sparks (16-4 overall).
No. 4: Logan Walter and Piper Naess (24-3).
No. 5: Abbey Reinard and Madison Nichols (15-12).

Synopsis: Cal Poly is back in the NCAAs for the fourth time, having previously competed in 2019 (0-2), ‘21 (1-2, eliminated in the second round of the contenders bracket) and ‘22 (bounced in the first round by Florida State). The Mustangs flipped the script on a 15-25 season in 2023 to return to national prominence, along the way beating TCU, Cal (twice), Long Beach State, Hawaii, Loyola Marymount, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and North Florida from the NCAA field, along with ranked foes Florida International and Stetson. An at-large entrant, Cal Poly had competitive losses to USC (by a 3-2 count with three matches going to the tiebreaker), UCLA (4-1 and 3-2) and Florida State (3-2 with a trio of three-setters). Long Beach State went 2-for-3 against Cal Poly, including a 3-2 victory that eliminated the Mustangs in the semifinals of the Big West Conference tournament. Senior Piper Naess and freshman Logan Walter will carry a 21-match winning streak into the NCAAs. Arizona State has not beaten Cal Poly in four meetings all-time, the last coming in 2022.

Arizona State
Record: 21-9 (No. 12 in the AVCA poll).
Coach: Kristen Rohr, first season.
Projected lineup (record for the pair on all courts):
No. 1: Daniella Kensinger (19-11 overall) and Ava Williamson (24-6 overall).
No. 2: Anya Pemberton (17-11 overall) and Arden Besecker (22-6 overall).
No. 3: Taryn Ames and Lexi Sweeney (20-9).
No. 4: Kate Fitzgerald (2-2 overall) and Ava Kirunchyk (10-14 overall).
No. 5: Adriana Nieves Papaleo (15-5 overall) and Ava Haughy (14-14).

Synopsis: Arizona State likely needed a strong showing on home sand in the stacked Pac-12 tournament last weekend to solidify an at-large bid, and the Sun Devils came through with flying colors. Beating ranked rival Arizona 3-0 helped their cause and the clincher came in a 3-2 nail-biter over California, a dual in which three matches were decided in tiebreakers. The Sun Devils were eliminated by Stanford in the next round of contenders-bracket play, but the selection committee had seen enough to award Arizona State its first bid to the NCAAs. Coach Kristen Rohr’s first season with the Sun Devils represented a remarkable turnaround from their 11-13 record of 2023. The other bullet point for Arizona State: A victory over Stanford. The Sun Devils also defeated Georgia State, Washington, Florida International and Stetson, while taking 3-2 losses against TCU and Long Beach State. Sophomore Daniella Kensinger and freshman Ava Williamsson are 9-3 on the top court after the latter was elevated from the 2s.

No. 6 TCU vs. No. 11 LSU

Record: 29-7 (No. 5 in AVCA poll).
Coach: Hector Gutierrez, eighth season.
Projected lineup (record for the pair on all courts):
No. 1: Hailey Hamlett (25-3 overall) and Anhelina Khmil (23-5 overall).
No. 2: Sutton MacTavish (19-5 overall) and Ana Vergara (18-7 overall).
No. 3: Tara Patton (14-13 overall) and Morgan Williams (11-5 overall).
No. 4: Keagan Polk (8-8 overall) and Emma Glagau (9-2 overall).
No. 5: Anete Namike (13-12 overall) and Olivia Clines (8-7 overall).

Synopsis: TCU won the CCSA tournament to gain an automatic entry in the NCAAs, the Horned Frogs’ fourth consecutive year in the big beach party. An NCAA semifinalist in 2023, Coach Hector Gutierrez did a juggling act to keep his team highly competitive during a 2024 season marked by key absences – Spanish nationals Daniela Alvarez and Tania Morena hit the pro tour to pursue an Olympic berth – and injuries. TCU absorbed no red-flag defeats while playing a killer schedule that included the Death Volley and Center of Effort: Three losses to USC, two to Stanford (both by 3-2 scores), one to UCLA and one to Cal Poly. Meanwhile, the Horned Frogs posted victories over Cal, Long Beach State, Hawaii (twice), Arizona State, Washington (twice), FIU, Florida Atlantic (twice) and Tulane (three times). Most notably, TCU nipped NCAA first-round opponent LSU 3-2 on Feb. 24 in Houston, winning at the 1s, 4s and 5s. The Bayou Bengals lead the all-time series 9-7, but have dropped the last four.

Record: 25-11 (No.11 in AVCA poll).
Coach: Russell Brock, eighth season.
Projected lineup (record for the pair on all courts):
No. 1: Gabi Bailey (19-14 overall) and Ellie Shank (25-6 overall).
No. 2: Reilly Allred and Parker Bracken (22-9).
No. 3: Ella Larkin (27-6 overall) and Aubrey O’Gorman (17-6 overall).
No. 4: Amber Haynes (19-14 overall) and Skylar Martin (22-11 overall).
No. 5: Yali Ashush and Emily Meyer (18-8).

Synopsis: A fixture at the national tournament since 2017, Louisiana State was the only at-large pick out of the CCSA. Its best NCAA finish was a third in 2019 and last year, the Tigers were eliminated in the quarterfinals by Florida State after they defeated first-round foe Florida Atlantic. LSU’s signature moment in 2024 came on home sand during its ambitious Death Volley Invitational, when it stunned USC 3-2. Victories over Cal, Loyola Marymount, Washington, Georgia State, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi strengthened its case with the selection committee, but 11 losses and a 1-2 record in the CCSA tournament put the Bayou Bengals in the lower half of the bracket. The midseason insertion of 6-foot-3 junior Aubrey O’Gorman and senior Ellie Shank’s climb to the top court bolstered LSU’s lineup, which received solid contributions from freshmen Skylar Martin and Yali Ashush.

No. 7 Cal vs. No. 10 Long Beach State

Record: 21-13 (No. 8 in the AVCA poll).
Coach: Meagan Owusu, eighth season.
Projected lineup (record for the pair on all courts):
No. 1: Sierra Caffo (13-12 overall) and Alexandria Young-Gomez (19-7).
No. 2: Emma Donley (19-13 overall) and Kendall Peters (15-12 overall).
No. 3: Gia Fisher (17-12 overall) and Marilu Pally (18-7 overall).
No. 4: Ella Dreibholz (22-6 overall) and Lara Boos (21-10 overall).
No. 5: Portia Sherman (24-6 overall) and Jenna Colligan (13-6 overall).

Synopsis: At-large selection out of the Pac-12, California is in the NCAA field for the third consecutive season. The Golden Bears tripped Long Beach State 3-2 in the first round of the 2023 tournament before being eliminated by UCLA. Cal has won five of seven all-time against the Beach. Coach Meagan Owusu has taken a mix-and-match approach to her lineup as the Bears negotiated a killer schedule while maintaining a national ranking between six and eight all season. Cal’s highlight victories came against Florida State, Loyola Marymount, Arizona State, Hawaii, LSU, Washington (twice), Georgia State, but it went a combined 0-6 against USC, UCLA and Stanford.

Long Beach State
Record: 28-9 (No. 7 in AVCA poll).
Coach: Mike Campbell, 10th season.
Projected lineup (record for the pair on all courts):
No. 1: Malia Gementera and Taylor Hagenah (27-10).
No. 2: Savannah Standage (22-9 overall) and Julia Westby (28-9 overall).
No. 3: Mo Gibson (21-7 overall) and Natalie Glenn (27-9 overall).
No. 4: Haley Carrington (15-12 overall) and Christine Deroos (26-11 overall).
No. 5: Megan Widener (29-8 overall) and Livi Narancich (14-8 overall).

Synopsis: Long Beach State was one of two at-large selections from the Big West Conference after a season which saw it solidly in the national Top 10. The Beach return to the NCAAs with a first-round rematch against Cal. Long Beach State suffered no glaring defeats while going 2-0 against Loyola Marymount, 2-1 against Cal Poly and 1-2 against Hawaii, including 3-2 defeat in the final of the Big West tournament that saw the title decided by a 16-14 score in the tiebreaker of the 4s match. The Beach also beat Washington, Arizona State, Georgia State, Florida International and Stetson. Coach Mike Campbell’s lineup starts no seniors. Sophomores Malia Gementera and Taylor Hagenah rank among the best top-court pairs in the nation. The excellent 2s duo of Savannah Standage and Julia Wesby also are second-year players.

No. 8 Loyola Marymount vs. No. 9 Hawaii

Loyola Marymount
Record: 27-13 (No. 9 in AVCA poll).
Coach: John Mayer, ninth season.
Projected lineup (record for the pair on all courts):
No. 1: Vihelmiina Prihti (30-9 overall) and Michelle Shaffer (30-9 overall).
No. 2: Isabelle Reffel (19-20 overall) and Alisha Stevens (10-9 overall).
No. 3: Anna Pellioa (25-12 overall) and Jacinda Ramirez (25-10 overall).
No. 4: Cassie Chinn (29-11 overall) and Chloe Hooker (27-12 overall).
No. 5: Madi Firnett (24-11 overall) and Abbey Thorup (27-12).

Synopsis: Loyola Marymount, the automatic qualifier as tournament champion of the West Coast Conference, earned its fourth consecutive trip to the NCAAs. The Lions finished third in 2021. In the 2023 nationals, LMU won its first-round dual against Hawaii before dropping a 3-1 decision to eventual national champion and SoCal rival USC. The seeding is set up for a similar scenario to play out this year, since the winner of the 8-9 dual advances to what almost certainly will be a date with the top-seeded Women of Troy. The Lions will face Hawaii for a third consecutive season in the first round, having also ousted the Rainbow Wahine in the 2022 nationals as the No. 4 seed. Hawaii leads the all-time series, which dates to 2012, 12-5, but has lost the last four. In their only meeting this year, LMU won 4-1 in the season-opening Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Classic in Honolulu. Coach John Mayer has used pretty much a set lineup through a 40-dual minefield of a schedule that saw his Lions compete in the Kahanamoku, the Battle for L.A., the East Meets West, FSU’s Unconquered Invitational and the Center of Effort, not to mention a one-day tri-dual against USC and UCLA. So 27-13 is pretty darn good. The TruVolley statistical rating puts Mayer’s crew No. 5 nationally, with its pairs ranked this way: 1s (8), 2s (15), 3s (7), 4s (4), 5s (3).

Record: 24-11 (No. 10 in AVCA poll).
Coach: Evan Silberstein, second season.
Projected lineup (record for the pair on all courts):
No. 1: Jaime Santer and Alana Embry (24-11).
No. 2: Kaylee Glagau (21-14 overall) and Pani Napoleon (18-17 overall).
No. 3: Sydney Miller and Anna Maidment (22-7).
No. 4: Riley Wagoner and Sydney Amiatu (22-11).
No. 5: Sarah Burton (8-5 overall) and Caprice Lorenzo (6-5).

Synopsis: Hawaii might have been on the bubble heading into the Big West Conference tournament, but a first-place finish made the Rainbow Wahine an automatic qualifier, rubber-stamping their seventh trip to the NCAAs. The big takeaway from Hawaii’s season was that it seemed buried by 0-5 start on home sand in their Kahanamoku showcase (losing to Loyola Marymount, UCLA twice, Stanford and USC), but will enter the nationals with an eight-dual winning streak. In between, the Rainbow Wahine notched victories over LSU, Long Beach State and Georgia State. “Very proud of our group for their commitment, follow through and composure on winning the Big West,” Coach Evan Silberstein told VBM. “Looking ahead to LMU is a full-circle moment from our opening match back in Honolulu. It’s a great opportunity for us to display our improvements since that time.” The late-season pairing of senior Kaylee Glagau and grad transfer Pani Napoleon has resulted in an 8-2 record. Touted freshman Julia Thelle (15-8) has dealt with injury issues and is available, Silberstein said, but won’t start.


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