#2 UCLA Beach Volleyball (30-5)
Opponent: #4 Florida State (28-8)
When: 11:00 AM PT, Saturday, May 6, 2017
Where: Gulf Shores Public Beach, Gulf Shores, AL
Video: NCAA Live Stream
If the Bruins want another shot at Southern Cal this season, they're going to have to get it the hard way. After blanking LSU in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament, #2 UCLA got bounced into the tournament's elimination bracket by #3 Pepperdine in a second round tie.
That gives the Bruins a lot of work to do today and tomorrow, assuming that they can avoid a second loss in the tourney. It starts with an 11:00 AM PT match against #4 Florida State, and assuming the Bruins win, a 2:00 PM PT match against the winner between #7 LSU and #5 Hawai'i.
And if the Bruins manage to win both of those battles, then they'll be back out on the beach at Gulf Shores tomorrow morning at 8:00 AM PT to play the loser of today's semifinal between Southern Cal and Pepperdine. Then, after a short break, the 2017 NCAA Championship match commences.
It won't be easy, but it's doable. UCLA has an excellent track record against FSU this season with two wins in two encounters. The Bruins and Seminoles first met this year in the East Meets West Invitational in early March at Manhattan Beach. UCLA edged Florida State 3-2 that day with UCLA's freshman pair of Lily Justine and Chanti Holroyd winning a crucial point on court 5.
The Bruins earned a more convincing victory over the Seminoles a month later at the FIU Surf and Turf Invitational in Miami. UCLA concluded the tournament with a 4-1 win over FSU which featured straight set wins on courts 1-4, and a narrow three-set loss on court 5.
The second result doesn't accurately reflect the strength of the Seminoles. However, after struggling in a 3-1 loss to #5 Hawai'i in yesterday's first round, Florida State looked a little bit sharper in a sweep of South Carolina in an elimination bracket match.
Nevertheless, today's contest is a match that the Bruins should win, even if they aren't at their best. If they do, they'll likely have to get past #5 Hawai'i a couple of hours later if they want to get another shot at Pepperdine and/or Southern Cal on Sunday.