LSU Gold

Beach Ranked No. 7 in AVCA Preseason Poll

by Grant Kauvar
Beach Ranked No. 7 in AVCA Preseason Poll

BATON ROUGE – The LSU Beach Volleyball team, a fixture in the top-10 over the past two seasons, was named the preseason No. 7 team in the nation by the AVCA Monday evening. This comes after the Tigers received the same ranking in the DiG Magazine poll in January.

LSU has been featured in the AVCA Top-10 for the past 24 weeks now, dating back to April 25, 2016, when the Tigers made their first appearance in the top-10. LSU finished at No. 6 in the final AVCA poll last season.

The Tigers have won 27 games in each of the past two seasons and have advanced to the NCAA Championships in Gulf Shores in both years. LSU returns 12 players from a year ago, including six big-time contributors.

Claire Coppola and Kristen Nuss, who have been mainstays as the Tiger’s Court 1 duo for two seasons come into the year after a successful offseason. Coppola and Nuss, both of whom will be juniors, took home the title at the USAV Collegiate Beach Championship back in May against the top amateur competition in the country. That earned them a spot in the FISU World University Games in Germany against top competition from the entire world. Coppola and Nuss spent their summer training with USA beach volleyball coaches and at team USA facilities to prepare for that event. 

Coppola and Nuss took home CCSA Pair of the Year in 2018 after going 31-8 on the top court. Over two seasons, the duo has won 58 matches and have led the Tigers to new heights.

The Tigers’ 2018 Court 3 duo of Olivia Powers and Hunter Domanski also competed in Hermosa Beach at the USAV Collegiate Beach Championship. Together in 2018, Powers and Domanski went 15-11. Powers, who will be a junior, went 21-19 for the whole season, while Domanski, a sophomore, went 19-20. It is still yet to be determined if that duo will pair up again in 2019.

Megan Davenport, a senior, went 29-9 throughout her sophomore campaign, playing most of her matches on the fourth flight. Maddie Ligon, who has a ferocious spike, went 25-12 in 2018, mainly on Court 5. Davenport and Ligon will be critical pieces to the Tiger’s success in 2019. 

The Tigers add six freshmen to the 2019 that will all look to make an impact on the season and over the coming four years. LSU also added three seniors from the indoor volleyball team along with a former indoor All-America grad transfer with two years of eligibility left from Creighton, Taryn Kloth.

LSU opened the brand new, state-of-the-art, LSU Beach Volleyball Stadium on Monday. The stadium is located in the heart of LSU’s campus and will be a great venue for students and fans alike to come cheer on the Sandy Tigs.

Much of the Tigers success since 2017 has come thanks to what they’ve been able to accomplish at home, which used to be at Mango’s in Baton Rouge. Over the past two seasons, LSU has recorded and impressive 20-1 record at home. Last year, the Tigers compiled a 14-match win streak at home.

LSU will host the Purple and Gold Scrimmage this Saturday, February 16. The scrimmage will begin at 10 a.m. CT and will be followed by a kid’s clinic at 12:30 p.m. The Tigers will begin their season next weekend on Saturday, February 23 in Tallahassee at the FSU Tournament.

On March 15 at 7 p.m. CT, LSU will host the LSU Beach Volleyball Stadium Duel against Coastal Carolina to hold its first on-campus competition in program history.

AVCA Collegiate Beach Volleyball Preseason Poll: February 11, 2019

Rank School (First place votes) 2018 Record 2018 Final Rank
1 UCLA (27) 40-4 1
2 Southern California 27-14 5
3 Florida State (1) 33-7 2
4 Pepperdine (2) 25-5 4
5 Hawai’i 37-5 3
6 Cal Poly 27-7 10
7 LSU 27-14 6
8 Long Beach State 26-8 7
9 South Carolina 24-9 8
10 Florida International 23-12 9
11 Stanford 17-13 13
12 California 24-8 12
13 Georgia State 24-12 11
14 Arizona 20-12 14
15 Loyola Marymount 22-14 15
16 Grand Canyon 13-16 18
17 Stetson 30-8 16
18 Tulane 23-14 17
19 TCU 10-22 NR
20 Florida Atlantic 18-15 20