Beach Dawgs Earn First Trip to National Championship - University of Washington Athletics (2024)

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SEATTLE -- For the first time ever, the Huskies have been selected for the Beach Volleyball National Championship, capping off a record setting season. The Huskies earned the thirteen seed when they were selected as an at-large bid. The Huskies will take on No. 4 Florida State at 7 a.m. PSTin Gulf Shores, Alabama on May 3rd at Gulf Shores Public Beach.

"Obviously we are really excited for this opportunity," said Head Coach Derek Olson. "This team displayed a lot of grit throughout the year to set us up for this moment. While I'm proud of this accomplishment I know these girls are capable of winning in Gulf Shores as well. We want to celebrate our first NCAA tournament appearance, but we also have to stay hungry because these opportunities aren't guaranteed, and as we know, they are hard to come by."

How Did We Get Here:
After defeating Utah on Thursday, the Beach Dawgs reached the impressive 20-win threshold, considered a mark of a strong season. It's the second year in a row they reached it.

Under the direction of Olson this year, the Huskies played one of the hardest schedules in the country. That was intentional, Olson said, because he believes it adds a level of toughness to the players' game. Under the rigors of that demanding schedule, the Dawgs stayed ranked all season, helping them earn the bid because the selection committee heavily weighs the strength of schedule when deciding which at-large bids get into the NCAA Championship.

This year, the Huskies have played 22 ranked opponents. Most of those games happened on the road where they notched wins against highly ranked teams, such as Florida International and Grand Canyon.

But the two-week stretch at home towards the end of the season played a key role in bringing the team into contention for the national championship, and setting the Dawgs up for the postseason.

For Instance, during the Huskies' first home tournament in April, they earned crucial wins against No. 12 Arizona State and No. 7 California. The ranked wins brought them the highest American Volleyball Coaches Association ranking they attained this season at 11.

Individual or Pair Successes
As a result of the wins from the home event on April 5th and 6th, freshman Zoey Henson and transfer junior Lauren Wilco*ck won National and Pac-12 Pair of the Week honors. The success at home was part of a larger 12-dual winning streak for the duo, which included three wins in a row against No. 2 Stanford, No. 7 California and No. 12 Arizona State. The Huskies went 7-2 as a team at home.

In their first year playing together, Henson and Wilco*ck earned the second most wins by a Husky pair in a single season. The duo is one of five Huskies who have moved into or up the top-10 list for career or single season records.

Also this season, Scarlett Dahl broke the program record for most appearances in history. She is also third all-time with the most wins.

Freshman Maggy Rabitsch made a name for herself playing almost exclusively in the No. 1 spot, the top pair for the Huskies for the entire year with graduate student Piper Monk-Heidrich. Rabitsch is one of three Huskies with at least 20 wins this season.

What's particularly impressive about these results is that the majority of the team had not played together before this season. The Dawgs only returned three starters from last year's top-ranked squad.

The freshmen contributed heavily to this team's success, including the freshmen-only pair of Brooke Balue and Sarah Wilco*ck. They emerged as a powerful duo when they first played together during the spring break trip to Texas. They have held down the No. 5 spot in the lineup and nabbed double digit wins against ranked opponents such as No. 13 FIU, No. 11 ASU and No. 15 Georgia State.

The Huskies are ready to take on the Seminoles and make more history.

Selection Criteria:
In addition to the nine automatic qualifiers, the committee will select eight teams at large.

Selection criteria for at-large bids:
a. Head-to-head competition.
b. Results versus common opponents.
c. Strength of schedule.
d. Overall record (must be .500 or above).

On Friday, May 3, the first round of single-elimination matches will take place with the winning teams advancing to the national semifinals.

Two single-elimination semifinal matches will be held on Saturday, May 4. The two winning teams in the semifinals will advance and compete in the single-elimination national championship game, which will take place on Sunday, May 5, 2024.

For all the latest UW Beach Volleyball news, photos, and videos, follow on Twitter (@UW_BeachVB) and Instagram (@UW_BeachVB)

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Beach Dawgs Earn First Trip to National Championship - University of Washington Athletics (2024)


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