HONOLULU – The No. 5 University of Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine (16-8) will head to Gulf Shores, Ala. following their at-large selection among the field of the inaugural NCAA Beach Volleyball Championships, the team learned Sunday during the official selection show.
The Rainbow Wahine earned a No. 5 NCAA Championships seed after storming through the Big West Championships to collect the first-ever conference title, sweeping Cal Poly, 5-0, and defeating Long Beach State in consecutive matches, 3-2.
Hawai'i will open competition on Friday (May 6) against the UCLA Bruins (19-6), who fell to both Southern Cal and Arizona to be eliminated from the Pac-12 tournament on Sunday. The Rainbow Wahine fell in both meetings with the Bruins this season, both tightly-contested 3-2 finishes.
Also among the championship field are No. 1 Florida State, No. Southern Cal, No. 3 Pepperdine, No. 6 Arizona, No. 7 Georgia State and No. 8 Stetson. The Rainbow Wahine earned one of two at-large bids to the tournament.
The NCAA's 90th (45th for women's sports) and newest National Championship will debut May 6-8, 2016 at the Gulf Shores Public Beach in Gulf Shores, Ala., the site of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Championships since the inception of the sport among collegiate teams in 2012
The NCAA Championship will have an eight-team bracket played in a double-elimination format, with teams consisting of five pairs matchups. Departing from the three-set format used throughout the regular season, competition will observe standard beach volleyball rules, and the winning team needing to win 3-of-5 sets in order to advance to the next round.
UH has made appearances in Gulf Shores at the AVCA Championships in three of the last four seasons, playing in pairs pool play in 2012 and 2015, and both team championships and pairs play in 2014 and 2015.
As part of a contractual agreement reached last month between the NCAA and Turner Sports, matches will be televised on truTV on Friday, May 6, and Saturday, May 7, from 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. ET (9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. HT). The championship round will air on TBS on Sunday, May 8, at 2:00 p.m. ET (8:00 a.m. HT). Live streaming coverage of every court in each match of the tournament will be available on NCAA.com. In addition, the full television broadcast will be available on Turner's TV Everywhere platforms including the Watch TBS and Watch truTV apps.