On Sunday, the USC Women's Sand Volleyball team began their 2013 campaign and played their first competition in the new Merle Norman Stadium next to the Figueroa entrance to campus. I must say, the view from the second level of Parking Structure X is gorgeous, with the Galen Center as the backdrop.
USC is ranked #3 in the nation by the AVCA and split their two opening matches, defeating Loyola Marymount 4-1 and losing to #4 Florida State 3-2. Upperclassmen Brooke Fournier and Natasa Siljkovic scored the first Trojan victory on the new sand, winning 21-13, 21-9 over an LMU pair. Katie Fuller, a senior who played outside hitter on the women's indoor volleyball team, teamed with grad student transfer Stevi Robinson to sweep their LMU match 21-15, 21-12. Fuller and Robinson also won their match against FSU in three sets, 21-16, 18-21, 15-12.
USC went 7-4 last year, and will face familiar rivals who have now added sand volleyball to their athletic programs, including UCLA, Nebraska, Arizona, and Stanford. The sport now has 30 collegiate teams and needs ten more to become a fully sanctioned sport and eligible to hold an NCAA championship tournament. For now, the AVCA will sanction the 2013 season.