After mixed results in their regular season, the Stanford beach volleyball is heading to Los Angeles to compete in the first-ever Pac-12 Beach Volleyball Championships from Thursday, April 28 to Sunday, May 1.
“It definitely gives us more of a concrete goal to work for in terms of the end of the season, and I think that’s been on everyone’s minds since we’ve started practicing out on the sand,” sophomore Catherine Raquel said about the tournament at the opening of the season. “It’s definitely added a bit of excitement to things,”
Now will be the Cardinal’s chance to take on this challenge. Stanford will be playing the toughest teams in the conference, which include No.1 USC, No. 4 UCLA, No. 6 Arizona, Washington, Oregon, Cal and Arizona State.
Two of the Cardinal’s pairs will kick things off in the first round of the pair tournament on Thursday. The championship features the top two pairs from each program in the conference, meaning that the representatives from Stanford will be freshmen Hayley Hodson and Payton Chang, sophomore Catherine Raquel and junior Ivana Vanjak.
Neither the Hodson/Chang nor the Vanjak/Raquel pair has achieved a tremendous amount of success this season, with the former compiling a 4-7 record while the latter finished 5-6, however, the duos did play in a number of close matches.
Following the two days of pair play, the Pac-12 team championships will begin on Saturday, April 30 and continue through Sunday, May 1.
The Cardinal has had a 5-10 dual record thus far this season, which is not bad for a new team that features many players without extensive beach experience. Unfortunately, the Cardinal will have to step up its game a bit as it takes on the other seven Pac-12 teams, some of which Stanford met in the regular season.
The Cardinal went 1-1 against eighth-seeded Oregon, who finished the regular season at 2-8. The team beat fifth-seeded Arizona State in early April but dropped a close match to rival California one week earlier.
The main contestants for the Pac-12 title will be top-10 ranked USC, UCLA and Arizona, none of which Stanford has met this season. This will change quickly at the tournament as the team will face off against the Wildcats in the first round and are also likely to face the Bruins if they can earn enough wins in either the winner’s or the contender’s bracket.
The Pac-12 Beach Volleyball Championships will start on Thursday, April 28 and continue through Sun, May 1 in Los Angeles at USC. Games will be televised on Pac-12 Networks.
Contact Laura Sussman at laura111 ‘at’ stanford.edu.