LSU Beach Volleyball enters the NCAA tournament in its best position to a win its first national championship ever.
No team in program history has ever had a higher seed, but that does not mean LSU is satisfied. The team started the season ranked #1, the same position as it ended last season. Simply put it is national championship or bust for the Tigers.
The team is built like national champions. The best player in the history of college beach volleyball leads LSU off on the first court.
Senior Kristen Nuss is the winningest player all time in college beach volleyball. She is 32-0 on the season on court one with partner senior Taryn Kloth. They are the only pair that is undefeated on the season in the country. They are also the only pair with over 30 wins.
In a sport where you need to win three courts to win a match, having the best pair in the country is a huge advantage. But it is not going to be enough to win a championship, though. That is going to have come from LSU’s other pairs.
On courts three through five, LSU has over a 75% win percentage. It is court two where LSU has had some issues.
The Tigers are 18-14 on court two on the year. LSU has talent on court two, but injuries and a covid related pause have slowed the Tigers down this season.
LSU is going to have be better though on two. The Tigers cannot be in a position where a win on court one is erased by a loss on court two. They have to maximize points as much as possible.
While the Tigers are a strong contender, the other three contenders look extremely tough. UCLA, USC, and Florida State are the top three seeds and LSU is a combined 1-7 against them.
Along with the Tigers, those other three teams have made up top four for the entire season and no one in that group has loss to anyone outside of it. It is very likely national champion will be LSU or one of those teams.
The other four teams in the NCAA beach volleyball tournament probably are not going to win a national title, that does not mean they cannot.
Loyola Marymount and Cal Poly did the unthinkable earlier this season: they kept Pepperdine and Hawaii outside of the tournament. Neither of those teams had ever missed a tournament before.
TCU and Stanford, like the top-4 programs, are teams from power conference athletic departments. They have resources that most teams do not have. Like LSU, they have built their programs without great beaches.
LSU has only played TCU out of the bottom four seeds, but LSU went 2-0 against the Horned Frogs.
The Tigers open against Loyola Marymount at 10 A.M. on Friday.
The tournament is double elimination and each match will be played until one team wins three courts. After that the match will end, any remaining courts will go unfinished leaving it possible for a team to win 3-0 or 3-1.