On May 1, the LMU beach volleyball (29-6 overall, 9-0 WCC) captured their second straight West Coast Conference (WCC) Championship after defeating Pepperdine and winning three straight sets to capture the title at Dockweiler Beach. The clinching win over Pepperdine came after a sweeping of the University of the Pacific in the prior round of the conference tournament. The victory also helped them secure a fifth seed in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Beach Volleyball Championship, which is the first time LMU has been selected in the history of the program.
The team, led by sixth-year head coach John Mayer, wasted no time following a canceled 2020 season due to COVID-19 as they bounced back to defend their 2019 conference championship, making this the second consecutive and second ever conference championship in program history. Prior to their season getting canceled in 2020, the team ended with a 6-3 record in hopes of defending their conference title. It would take a year later, but the Lions used that lost season to fuel their deep run and remain atop the WCC. The Lions replicated their 2019 conference championship by once again defeating rival Pepperdine, the same opponent they defeated in 2019 to capture their first title. The 2021 championship against Pepperdine saw the pairings of redshirt senior Megan Rice and graduate student Iya Lindahl, graduate students Jessie Prichard and Savannah Slattery, graduate student Darby Dunn and freshman Jacinda Ramirez and graduate student Emma Doud and freshman Maddie Firnett go 5-0 in finished sets, with the team only losing one set the entire conference tournament.
The last time the Lions won the conference tournament during the 2019 season, they were not selected to continue on to the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championships. This time, however, the Lions, who were likely to make the tournament after a strong regular season, were chosen as a fifth seed to participate in the tournament following their strong victory in the conference championships. The Lions will open in their first ever NCAA tournament game by taking on Louisiana State University (LSU) (25-7 overall) in the first round. If the Lions defeat LSU, they will go on to face the winner between No. 1 UCLA or No. 8 Texas Christian University. UCLA is one of only three teams to have beaten LMU this year, defeating the Lions three separate times over the course of the season. Since their last loss to UCLA on April 16, however, the Lions have gone on a hot streak, going 9-0 to finish the season.
The Lions will have their shot to make history, as only eight of the top teams in the nation are selected to participate in the NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship. LMU will open in their first ever NCAA tournament game against LSU on Friday, May 7 at 8 a.m. PST.