The first ever NCAA women’s beach volleyball tournament has been completed. After a long weekend in Gulf Shores, Alabama, the Florida State Seminoles (32-3) took home a second place finish after a 3-0 loss to the USC Trojans (34-2) in the best-of-five championship match.
The double elimination tournament started with FSU as the top seed, and they charged their way past Stetson and Hawaii to the third round before losing for just the second time this season to the Trojans 3-1. The Seminoles then bested UCLA in the loser’s bracket to face USC again in the championship round before falling to them again 3-0.
Tournament matches consisted of teams of two from each university playing against each other in three-game contests, typically with each game going to 21 points. Once a team of a two wins two of three of those games, that counts as one set. The first university to win three of the five sets wins the match, similar to tennis. Unlike tennis, the multiple sets can occur on multiple sand courts simultaneously as they are being played by different players. In fact, play may be halted on other courts once the outcome has been decided by the results from other sets.
Watch play from the championship match below:
What USC has been able to do, with a 30-match winning streak culminating in a national championship, is nothing short of incredible. Although the Seminoles also finished the season strong, it wasn’t enough to derail the Trojans’ dominant championship journey as they dropped only one set throughout the entire NCAA tournament. Teammates Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes finished an undefeated (48-0) season when taking the court together, unfathomably outstanding for the duo.
Despite the disappointing second place finish this year, being the national runners up in a sport in nothing the sneer at. FSU head coach Brooke Niles said Sunday, “The beach volleyball world has to look out for Florida State. Recruits want to come here and we want to coach them to be the best players that they can be.”
Speaking on their result as runners up, Niles continued, “It’s huge for us, and it puts east coast beach volleyball on the map.”
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