LOS ANGELES — The UCLA Bruins will enter the 2016 season ranked 7th in the DiG Magazine Women’s Beach Volleyball Preseason Poll as announced on Feb. 1, 2016.
The Bruins’ Beach Volleyball team will open its fourth official season of beach volleyball on March 5-6 at the Pepperdine Kick Off in Malibu, Calif. UCLA will square off with four teams in its opening weekend that all made the eight-team field at last year’s 2015 AVCA Sand Volleyball National Championships. UCLA will open with runner-up Long Beach State at 10:30 a.m. on March 5. The 49ers open the season ranked No. 4. UCLA will conclude the day with No. 3 Hawai’i at 1:00 p.m. The Bruins will conclude the event with reigning national champions No. 1 USC on March 6 at 9:15 a.m. and semifinalists No. 2 Pepperdine at 11:45 a.m.
Throughout the course of the season, the Bruins will face eight of the other nine teams ranked in the preseason Top 10 by DiG Magazine.
Beach volleyball has been added as the 23rd Pac-12-sponsored sport beginning in the 2015-16 academic year. With eight member institutions (Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, USC and Washington) currently fielding beach volleyball teams, the Conference of Champions is the first major conference to sponsor sand volleyball as an official sport.
As part of the addition, the Pac-12 will also sponsor a Beach Volleyball Championship from April 28 to May 1, 2016 with USC serving as the hosts. The format of which will be determined based upon the to-be-established NCAA qualification requirements.
The NCAA® Beach Volleyball Committee selected the host site for the inaugural National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship. The NCAA’s 90th and newest National Championship will debut May 6-8, 2016 at the Gulf Shores Public Beach and will be hosted by the city of Gulf Shores, Alabama and Orange Beach Sports Commission.
The host institution for the inaugural beach volleyball championship will be the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The university and Gulf Shores have also been chosen as the hosts of the 2017 championship, which will be held May 5-7, 2017.
Beach volleyball is the fastest-growing NCAA sport with 47 sponsoring schools. The addition of the beach volleyball championship will become the 45th NCAA championship administered for women. The championship will have an eight-team bracket that will be played in a double-elimination format with teams consisting of five pairs of female student-athletes. After being placed on the list of emerging sports for women in 2009, beach volleyball is the fifth sport to succeed from the emerging sports program.