USC will face Loyola Marymount Saturday in the winner’s bracket final of the NCAA beach volleyball championship, with the winner advancing to the final and the loser getting a second chance Sunday.
The second-seeded Trojans advanced to the winner’s bracket final with a 3-1 semifinal victory over third-seeded Florida State on Friday. USC opened the tournament with a 3-0 victory over seventh-seeded Cal Poly earlier Friday.
The fifth-seeded Lions upset top-seeded UCLA, 3-2, in the other winner’s bracket semifinal Friday, ending a 12-match losing streak to the Bruins that began in 2015.
Loyola Marymount opened the tournament with a 3-2 victory over fourth-seeded LSU earlier Friday.
The Lions (31-6) are 0-22 against the Trojans (28-4), including a 4-1 loss April 16. The match is set to begin at 2 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time.
Loyola Marymount is playing in the NCAA beach volleyball championship for the first time. The championship has been held annually since 2016, except in 2020 when it was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Each edition of the championship has been held in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
USC was the 2016 and 2017 champion and runner-up to UCLA in 2019. The Bruins also won in 2018.
UCLA will try to keep its championship hopes alive when it faces Cal Poly in an elimination bracket semifinal in the modified double-elimination tournament set to begin at 12:30 p.m. PDT Saturday.
UCLA is 8-0 against the Mustangs, including a 5-0 victory April 17 and a 3-2 win April 22.
The UCLA-Cal Poly winner will face the winner of the elimination bracket semifinal between third-seeded Florida State and fourth-seeded LSU at 3:30 p.m. PDT.
The USC-Loyola Marymount loser will face the elimination bracket winner Sunday to determine the other finalist.
All of Saturday and Sunday’s matches will be televised by ESPN2.
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