Sand Volleyball Earns Bid to AVCA National Championship
April 21, 2014
MALIBU, Calif. - The six-team AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championship tournament field is set, and the Pepperdine women's sand volleyball team will enter the tournament as the No. 2 seed. The Waves, who finished the season 15-1 in dual matches, will be joined by #1 USC, #3 Hawaii, #4 Florida State, #6 Florida International and Stetson.
Pepperdine won the inaugural team title in 2012 and then finished runner-up to Long Beach State at last year’s championship while competing shorthanded. USC enters the 2014 field as the No. 1 seed. The Waves and Trojans split the regular-season series this year. Pepperdine shut out USC 5-0 at Zuma Beach, while the Trojans took a 4-1 decision in Los Angeles at the end of March.
The team championship will begin on Friday, May 2 and the champion will be crowned on Saturday. A double elimination format will be used in the preliminary rounds, while the semifinal and title match will be single elimination. CBS Sports Network will televise portions of the competition in a two-hour special that will have three airings: May 26, 4 p.m. (PT), May 30, 4:30 p.m. and June 2, 4 p.m.
All six teams selected will send their top duos into Sunday’s single-elimination pairs championship. Additionally, the No. 2 teams for the four team semifinalists will also be entered into the individual bracket.
The Waves’ top-two pairs are Kelley Larsen (Jamul, Calif./Christian HS) and Kellie Woolever (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS), and Becca Strehlow (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS/UCLA), and Lara Dykstra (Redondo Beach, Calif./Redondo Union HS/Nebraska). Larsen and Woolever enter the championship 20-2 on the season, 10-1 in both dual and pairs play. Strehlow and Dykstra are 19-6 overall on the year. Dykstra competed in last year’s pairs championship alongside former champion Caitlin Racich (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos HS).
The Waves have only faced USC and Hawaii out of the five other teams in the national championship field. In addition to going 1-1 versus the Trojans, Pepperdine shut out the Rainbow Wahine twice.
With the top-two seed, Pepperdine receives a bye into the quarterfinals. The Waves will face either Florida State or Stetson on Friday, May 2 at 11 a.m. (PT). A win would advance Pepperdine to Saturday’s semifinal, while a loss would relegate the Waves to the back draw where they would have to win once more on Friday in order to continue.
The championship match is scheduled for Saturday, May 3 at 1:30 p.m. (PT)
Up-to-minute coverage for the championships can be followed on Twitter @PeppSandVolley. You can also follow along on Facebook and full results and recaps will be posted on PepperdineSports.com at the end of every day.