BVB | 2018 Schedule Boasts Tough Opponents, Top Tourneys
The 2018 Saint Mary's beach volleyball schedule features a host of nationally ranked teams from a year ago and three big tournaments
Saint Mary's Beach Volleyball Schedule
MORAGA, Calif. — Six home matches, three major tournaments, and 11 contests against top-20 teams from a year ago highlight the Saint Mary’s beach volleyball team’s 2018 schedule, set to kick off on Feb. 24.
The Gaels’ schedule features 23 matches on 14 days throughout March and April. Saint Mary’s will open the season on Feb. 24 in Stockton against local rival teams Pacific and California. The Gaels host their first home match on March 13 versus Santa Clara before hosting Feather River College and West Coast Conference rival San Francisco on March 17, then hosting Pacific on March 20. The season culminates in the third annual West Coast Conference Beach Volleyball Championship to be held in Santa Monica on April 20-21. The third annual NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship will once again be held at Gulf Shores Public Beach in Gulf Shores, Ala., with eight teams competing on May 6-8.
“We are all fired up for the beach season,” said Saint Mary’s head coach Rob Browning. “We have a fantastic schedule that will give us the full spectrum of experiences. It's always exciting to square off against our Bay Area rivals. Our WCC foes in the Bay Area - Pacific, Santa Clara and San Francisco - will give us our first look at the competition in our conference.
“We also face Stanford, Cal, and San Jose State, so we will see how we stack up with all of the Bay Area teams. We are fortunate to be located in the Bay Area with so many great teams nearby.”
The Gaels will have two more opportunities to face East Bay rival California on March 16 on the road and on April 17 in Moraga before heading to the West Coast Conference Championship.
Saint Mary’s is invited to compete in three big tournaments on the season. The Gaels’ first tournament is on March 2-3 held in Stanford at the Stanford Bay Area Kickoff. Over the two days, the Gaels will face Northern California rivals Stanford, Sacramento State, San Francisco and Santa Clara. Stanford finished 2017 ranked No. 19 in the DiG Magazine Collegiate Beach Volleyball Poll.
After the Gaels host their mid-March home matchups they will head to Southern California to spend three days competing in seven matches. Of the seven matches, four of the teams were ranked in the AVCA collegiate beach volleyball final poll of May 8, 2017.
“Our Southern California trip will be a great challenge,” said Browning. “Long Beach State, Loyola Marymount, USC and Pepperdine are some of the very best teams in SoCal and in the nation. We then get to play UCLA and Cal Poly at Stanford, so we are playing just about every California team, and we will be pushed in all of those contests.”
On March 28, Saint Mary’s will take on Oregon and Long Beach State in Long Beach. On March 29 they will face Loyola Marymount and Concordia in Santa Monica. The Gaels will conclude its road trip on March 31 in Malibu at the Pepperdine Invitational, in which they will compete with two-time defending national champion USC, two-time defending WCC champion Pepperdine, and LMU.
Saint Mary’s will host San Jose State on April 5 at Moraga Commons before heading to Stanford for the second time for the Stanford West Coast Classic on April 7-8. There, SMC will take on UCLA, Cal Poly and Stanford.
“The highlight of the season is the WCC Championships in Santa Monica,” said Browning. “Our conference is getting stronger every year and we will need to be at our best to challenge for the title. This will be the third year of the WCC Beach Volleyball Championship and if it's anything like the first two years, it's going to be awesome.”
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