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Inaugural Beach #WCCchamps Starts Friday

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SAN BRUNO, Calif. - On Friday, April 22, history will be made in Santa Monica as the West Coast Conference hosts its inaugural Beach Volleyball Championship at Ocean Park Beach. The two-day event begins at 9:00 a.m. PDT on Friday with eight matches and Saturday’s first serves are set for 9:00 a.m. 

Friday opens with No. 4 Saint Mary’s taking on No. 5 Pacific and No. 3 Santa Clara against No. 6 Loyola Marymount. No. 2 San Francisco opens play at 10:30 a.m. vs. No. 7 Portland and No. 1 Pepperdine hosts the Saint Mary’s/Pacific winner. 

WCC IN THE NATIONAL POLLS – No. 2 Pepperdine enters the first WCC Beach Volleyball Championship ranked second nationally in the current AVCA national poll with a sparkling 16-3 record. The Waves spent several weeks as the top-ranked team in the country. Three WCC programs check in on the DiG 2016 Collegiate Sand Volleyball Poll (as of April 12): No. 2 Pepperdine, No. 13 San Francisco and No. 20 Santa Clara. Both Pacific and Saint Mary's appeared in the "receiving votes" category.

2015 AVCA ALL-AMERICANS – Four student-athletes at West Coast Conference institutions captured AVCA All-American honors last season. The All-American team was comprised of pairs competitors that advanced to the quarterfinals of the National Pairs Tournament. Pepperdine’s Kelley Larsen and Kellie Woolever and Loyola Marymount’s Betsi Metter and Sarah Sponcil captured national accolades. 

BEACH VOLLEYBALL AVCA HISTORY - Pepperdine boasts a nation-best 14 AVCA All-Americans: Lara Dykstra (2013, 14), Lilla Frederick (2012, 13), Kim Hill (2012, 13), Kelley Larsen (2014, 15), Racich (2012, 13), Ross (2012), Becca Strehlow (2014) and Kellie Woolever (2014, 15). Hill stands as the first, and to date only, student-athlete to earn AVCA All-American first team honors in both indoor and sand volleyball in a single season.  Last season, the Waves worked for an appearance in the AVCA Championship semifinals, falling to Long Beach State to end the season.  The Waves entered the 2016 season with a 65-8 record. 

BEACH VOLLEYBALL HISTORY – One of the most prominent names in the young history of the sport at the collegiate level, Pepperdine women’s beach volleyball program has been at the forefront since the sport debuted in 2012. The Waves went a perfect 14-0 in dual match play and won the inaugural AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Team Championship in Gulf Shores, Ala. Pepperdine’s Caitlin Racich -- the program’s first-ever scholarship recipient -- and partner Summer Ross took home the pairs national crown as well. In 2013, the Waves marched back to the national title match but fell 3-2 while playing shorthanded. The Waves returned with a vengeance in 2014, going 18-1 in route to the national championship title. 

In AVCA National Pairs competition, Loyola Marymount’s Betsi Metter and Sarah Sponcil made back-to-back trips to nationals (2014-15) and posted a runner-up finish as seniors.

NCAA STATUS - This season marks the first season which beach volleyball will be an NCAA-sanctioned sport, with the inaugural NCAA Championships to be held in Gulf Shores, Ala. from May 6-8.  Collegiate sand volleyball completed the fourth and final year as an “emerging sport” last season.  It was given 10 years to gain the minimum 40 sponsoring institutions for two years in a row to be considered an NCAA Championship sport. With requirements met in record time, sand volleyball was voted into NCAA Championship Sport status earlier this year.  The NCAA will host only a team championship, and not a pairs championship.   

Now fans of the West Coast Conference can follow championships like never before. Now available in the iTunes and GooglePlay stores, download the free app today. Fans can access live scoring, exclusive content from TheW.tv, course details and much more. In addition information for all teams competing in the championship is available. 

The official hashtag of West Coast Conference Championships is #WCCchamps. Join the conversation now!