COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Saint Mary's beach volleyball top pair of Lindsey Knudsen and Payton Rund has been selected to participate in the 2017 USA Volleyball Collegiate Beach Championships and Team USA Trials on May 11-13 in Hermosa Beach.
The SMC sophomores are one of 24 female pairs to be selected for the event. The USAV Collegiate Beach Championship begins on May 11 with pool play and rolls into single elimination on May 12-13. All quarterfinals, semis and the final will be played on May 13. The women's final will be televised live on NBC Sports Network at 3 p.m.
The championship also serves as the Team USA trials. The winning pair earns a spot on the USA Volleyball collegiate beach national team. The event serves as an individual pairs championship not held by the NCAA during its national championship on Friday-Sunday in Gulf Shores, Ala. A pairs championship has not been held on a national level since the American Volleyball Coaches Association championship in 2015.
“I'm thrilled that they were recognized for what a significant team they are in the U.S. ranking of volleyball,” said Saint Mary's head coach Angela Rock. “I fully believe they're capable of winning the event, not just participate.”
Knudsen and Rund teamed up to go 24-5 this season at the No. 1 pairs spot. All five of their defeats came against pairs from nationally ranked teams. Their biggest win of the year came on April 8 when they defeated No. 1 USC's top pair of Kelly Claes and Sarah Hughes, ending the Trojan pair's 103-match winning streak that spanned nearly two years. The Saint Mary's duo was named the National Pair of the Week by DiG Volleyball Magazine for the week of March 20 after going 4-0 and helping to hand then-No. 11/14 California its first loss of the year.
Knudsen was named the 2017 West Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year. It was her second WCC major player award in as many seasons after being named WCC Freshman of the Year last season. She was also named to the all-WCC first team and landed on the WCC all-academic team, both for the second straight year.
Rund was also named all-WCC first-team and WCC all-academic. She won 22 straight matches with partner Mary Hernandez last season at the No. 2 position before moving up this year to play with Knudsen at No. 1. Rund was named all-WCC second team last year, as well as to the WCC all-freshmen team.
The Saint Mary's beach volleyball program has been a winning program since its inception in 2013. The Gaels sent pairs to the AVCA Championships in each of the program's first two years. They have made consecutive semifinals at the WCC Championship, inagurated last year, and have been among the national rankings for the last two years.
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