Long Beach State travels to the AVCA National Championships this week, as the 49ers return to the team competition after a one-year absence. The 49ers begin the tournament on Friday, held for the fourth straight year in Gulf Shores, Ala.
Long Beach State is seeded seventh among the eight teams competing for the national championship. The 49ers are one of two teams to have won the event, taking the national title in 2013, while fourth-seeded Pepperdine has won the other two titles in 2012 and 2014.
The team champion will be determined by a seeded, double-elimination tournament leading to a championship match between the Top 8 teams in the country. Top seed USC will open with (8) Stetson, Pepperdine will face fifth-seeded Georgia State, while (3) Florida International will play (6) Florida State.
For the Beach, the opening round brings up a third meeting with Hawai’i in 2015, the No. 2 seed, as the teams will tangle at 9 a.m. CT/7 a.m. PT on Friday morning.
Long Beach State nearly upset the Rainbow Wahine in their first meeting this season. Jenelle Hudson and Bre Mackie won against Sammie Brown and Hannah Rooks at No. 3, while Andrea McHugh and Ciana Wagner won against Lara Schreiber and Heather Boyan, playing at No. 4. The 49ers dropped three-set matches at both No. 1 and No. 4, and ultimately lost the neutral match in Hermosa Beach 3-2.
The 49ers got a second crack at Hawai’i this past weekend in Honolulu, and this time it was was No. 1 pair Delainey Aigner-Swesey and Chelsea Cabrajac that grabbed a win, dropping Nikki Taylor and Brittany Tiegs in straight sets 21-18, 22-20. The Rainbow Wahine won the other four matches to win the dual 4-1, but the 49ers have had three pairs win against Hawai’i this season, and will need just three to advance at Friday’s National Championship.
The dual finals will be held on Saturday, giving way to the pairs championship on Sunday.
Each team that qualified for the team tournament automatically enters their top team, so Aigner-Swesey/Cabrajac will be among the 16 seeded pairs participating in the single-elimination tournament.
As the 49ers’ No. 2 pair, Anete Brinke and Tyler Jackson will automatically be entered into the tournament if LBSU reaches the team championship match. They will also be entered into a play-in match for the final two spots if the 49ers reach the semifinals in the team portion.
CBS Sports Network once again has the rights to the national championship, and will air a package on the event at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 23.