April 16, 2012
Long Beach, Calif. - Long Beach State Sand Volleyball has been selected to compete for the first-ever collegiate national championship in the sport, hosted by the American Volleyball Coaches Association from April 27-29 in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The 49ers will face Pepperdine, Florida State, and the College of Charleston to determine the first national champion in Sand Volleyball, which is in its first season as an NCAA sport.
15 schools are participating in the very first season of sand volleyball, which will conclude its season with this tournament, featuring four schools for the team championship and 16 two-player teams for the pairs title. Two schools, Florida State and the College of Charleston, were selected from the South, while one school, Pepperdine, was selected from the West. Long Beach State earned the at-large bid to the National Championship in part on the strength of its 3-2 win last Saturday over USC, a last nod over the Trojans to compete in the team championship.
The team national championship will operate in the same structure as the regular season, except the four teams will participate in duals in a double-elimination format. The 49ers will begin play on April 28 by facing Florida State, as the Seminoles were seeded second while Long Beach State was seeded third. Undefeated Pepperdine was the top seed, while the College of Charleston is the fourth seed.
Long Beach State will also have two pairs teams participating in the pairs championship. Caitlin Ledoux and Tara Roenicke will be among the favorites to take the pairs title, while Haleigh Hampton and Libby Fontanilla will also represent the 49ers in the 16 teams picked to play for the pairs championship. Eight pairs from the teams participating in the team championship were selected, while eight "wild card" pairs were chosen from teams not invited to Gulf Shores for the team championship.
Competition will begin on April 27 with pool play in the pairs competiton. Hampton and Fontanilla have been placed in pool one, competing against Aurora Newgard and Brittney Tiegs of Florida State, Jane Croson and Ashley Lee of Hawai'i, and Emily Shelton and Kelly Kolich of the College of Charleston. Meanwhile, Ledoux and Roenicke will be in pool three, matched with Lilia Frederick and Kim Hill of Pepperdine, Elyse Chubb and Lizzie Theesfeld of the College of Charleston, and Julie Bassett and Kaley Melville of Stetson.
Results from Friday's action will determine seeding for a 16-team, single elimination tournament to be held on Sunday, April 29 to determine a pairs national championship.
CBS Sports Network will televise portions of the competition in two hour-long specials. Part one of their coverage will air beginning on Wednesday, June 6 at 6 p.m. PT and part two will begin airing on Wednesday, June 13 at 6 p.m. PT.
As an emerging sport, Sand Volleyball is sponsored by the NCAA but does not have an NCAA championship. The AVCA is holding this tournament in place of the NCAA.
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