LMU will play three matches in Arizona over the course of Friday and Saturday.
Head coach Tom Black and Team USA recently earned a silver medal at the 29th Annual Montreux Volley Masters tournament.
Mayer is the volunteer assistant for the LMU sand volleyball team when he is not competing to become an Olympian.
LMU will look to earn the program's first victory on Tuesday.
LMU will play in its first sand volleyball match on Saturday against USC.
While her LMU teammates handled their competition on the beaches of Los Angeles, redshirt sophomore Sarah Sponcil spent a week in Sydney, Australia, competing and winning gold in the Four Nations U21 Tournament. Sponcil, an All-American honorable mention for the Lions' 2015 indoor volleyball season, and head coach Tom Black discuss the sophomore's international performance and her prospects for a successful career.
2016 Beach Volleyball Season Preview
Final home match from Playa del Rey
Betsi Metter and Litara Keil reached the Final Four of the Pairs National Championship, earning All-American honors.
LMU hosts a Sand Volleyball match on April 17
Tom Black enters his sixth season as LMU's head coach with the start of the 2015 fall indoor volleyball season after being hired on January 19th, 2010. Serving as head coach since its inception, Black will begin his fourth year as head coach of the LMU sand volleyball program in the spring of 2015.
Black guided LMU to the 2014 NCAA Tournament, marking the second trip in the last three years for the Lions, and the 12th overall in program history. Black's 2014 squad, which finished the year 23-8 overall and 11-7 in the WCC (fifth), entered the AVCA national rankings for the first time since 2004 on September 15 (#23), and held a national ranking for five weeks. The squad began the year at 12-0, the best record to start a year in program history (previous: 10-0 | 2003), and reached 20 wins for the first time since 2003 (26-7). Taking advantage of home-court, LMU started the year 7-0 at home, the best mark since the 2003 squad went 12-0 at home to start the season. The Lions finished 11-3 in Gersten in 2014, marking the best home record since recording the same record in 2004. Seniors Caitlin DeWitt and Litara Keil were joined by junior Hannah Tedrow on the 2014 first team All-WCC squad, while freshmen Sarah Sponcil and Kristen Castellanos earned All-Freshmen honors. Keil and Tedrow would later be named Pacific South All-Region and honorable mention All-Americans, while Sponcil took home LMU's first ever Region Freshman of the Year selection.
On the sand, Black has built a strong program that enters the 2015 season ranked #5 in the nation according to Dig Beach Volleyball Magazine. LMU's top pair in 2014, Betsi Metter and Litara Keil, reached the Final Four of the AVCA Pairs Championships en route to becoming the first sand volleyball All-Americans in LMU history. No stranger to the Pairs Championship, Keil also made the tournament playing with Felicia Arriola in 2013.
Black's 2012 indoor squad broke a six-year drought for LMU in the NCAA Tournament, as the Lions earned an at-large bid to play in the Tournament for the first time since 2005. The Lions finished the year with an 18-13 overall record and an 8-8 mark in the WCC (sixth) to earn the nod. A testament to the strength of the West Coast Conference, LMU was one of six WCC teams to make the tournament. Four of Black's players earned All-WCC honors at the conclusion of the year, including Betsi Metter who took home her second WCC Defensive Player of the Year selection and an honorable mention bid. Black also guided Kathleen Luft to a first team All-WCC selection after the outside hitter led the conference with 474 kills at a rate of 4.16 per set.
Working with some of the top athletes in the country, Black has been active with the US Women's National Team for the past four years, culminating in his selection as an assistant coach with the team in March of 2013. Black will continue in his head coach role at LMU throughout his term on the Team USA staff. Prior to being named as an assistant within the program, Black spent three consecutive summers as a consultant coach as the National Team prepared for the 2012 London Games. Under his title, Black primarily assisted in the training sessions at the American Sports Center, working alongside the likes of Hugh McCutcheon, Karch Kiraly and Paula Weishoff.
With Black on staff, and with Marv Dunphy filling his role in Italy while the LMU season was underway, Team USA made history in October of 2014, beating China 3-1 (27-25, 25-20, 16-25, 26-24) and winning the first world championship gold medal for the U.S. Women's program at the FIVB World Championship at the Mediolanum Forum in Milan. Black, serving as setters coach, helped Team USA setter Alisha Glass to being named best setter in the world by the FIVB at the end of world championships. The U.S. Women had never before won gold at any of the three major international volleyball events: World Championship, World Cup or Olympic Games.
After guiding LMU to that initial run to the Tournament in 2012, Black helped LMU to a 14-14 record and an 8-10 mark in the WCC en route to a sixth-place finish in 2013. The season was highlighted by the third straight selection of Metter as WCC Defensive Player of the Year and an honorable mention All-WCC honoree. Luft and Keil were also lauded by the WCC, earning a first-team and honorable mention selection, respectively. Metter, Black's first recruit after being named LMU head coach, finished her career as LMU's all-time leader in digs and aces, amassing 1,802 digs and 170 aces over a four-year career.
Black's sophomore campaign at LMU in 2011 saw the Lions finish 14-16 overall and sixth in the West Coast Conference at 7-9. Metter highlighted a trio of Lions lauded as part of the All-West Coast Conference selections in Black's second year, earning Defensive Player of the Year accolades and a spot on the All-WCC honorable mention team.
In his inaugural season, Black guided his 2010 roster of Lions to an even 15-15 mark and a fourth-place finish in the West Coast Conference after being selected to finish eighth in the 2010 preseason coaches' poll. Black saw two of his athletes garner All-Conference recognition at the conclusion of the season.
Including a 115-29 record at Division II UC San Diego, Black has accumulated a 199-95 (.677) record as a head coach in women's volleyball.
Before coming to LMU, Black served five seasons at the helm of the UC San Diego women's volleyball program. In all, Black coached four UCSD players to All-America selections, including a trio in 2009. Moreover, the 2006 Tachikara/AVCA D-II Pacific Region Coach of the Year watched 20 of his student-athletes garner California Collegiate Athletic Association All-Conference recognition, capped by five selections in 2009. Over his five years, Black posted a career record of 115-29, good for a .799 winning percentage, and saw his teams ranked in the AVCA Top-25 of every week for his final four seasons.
Black's 2009 Triton squad finished with an overall record of 29-3 and was ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation en route to a spot in the NCAA West Region semifinals. The Tritons' 2009 trip to the postseason marked the fourth consecutive visit over Black's five-year tenure at UC San Diego, while the No. 7 final national ranking was the second top-10 finish for Black at UCSD. Black also saw three of his student-athletes earn AVCA All-America recognition in his final year, including Sylvia Schmidt, who took home a CCAA Player of the Year award, the second such recipient under Black's guidance.
In 2008, the Tritons handed their rival, then-No. 1 Cal State San Bernardino, its first loss of the year and qualified for the NCAA Tournament. UCSD won over 20 games for the 25th time in school history that year, while Black guided Rebecca Bailey to the school's all-time career kills mark and her second consecutive All-American bid.
In 2007, the Tritons knocked off the No. 2 team in the country on the road and advanced to the NCAA Pacific Region Semifinals. Also, the 2007 Tritons had an All-American and four student-athletes on the CCAA All-Conference squad.
Just one year after taking the reins at UC San Diego, Black directed the Tritons back to the postseason in 2006, finishing the year with a 26-3 overall record, a NCAA Elite Eight appearance, a NCAA Pacific Regional Championship and a final national ranking of No. 5. For his efforts, Black was named the 2006 Tachikara/AVCA D-II Pacific Region Coach of the Year and CCAA Co-Coach of the Year. That season also produced the first of two CCAA Players of the Year under Black's guidance, as Nicole Courtney earned the honor.
In 2005, Black took over as head coach for the UCSD women's volleyball program with six new starters, leading the team to victories over two ranked opponents as part of a 19-8 record on the season. UCSD had three players named to the All-CCAA team and one student-athlete earned AVCA Pacific Region honors.
Before coming to UCSD for his inaugural year, Black spent two seasons as an assistant coach for the men's volleyball program at USC. Prior to his stint with the Trojans, he spent the 2002 and 2003 seasons as the men's head coach at Pierce Junior College in Woodland Hills, Calif. He also was an assistant in 2003 with the Pierce women's team. His men's squads won the 2002 and 2003 California state junior college crowns, finishing 15-3 in 2002 and 17-2 in 2003.
Black began his coaching career as an assistant boys' coach at Royal High in Simi Valley, Calif., serving two seasons from 1997-98. The 1997 Royal team was a CIF Division I finalist. He then spent three years, from 1999-01, as the head boys' coach at Thousand Oaks High School, where he also taught English and history.
On the club circuit, Black served four years as the co-director of the Santa Monica Beach Club team. He was the head coach of SMBC's boys' 18s team in 2003, 2004 and 2005 after serving as an assistant in 2002 with the 18s team that won the bronze medal at the Junior Olympics. He also was the head coach of SMBC's girls' 17s team in 2005.
As a player, Black was a four-year varsity letterman for the UCSD men's volleyball program from 1993-96, setting numerous hitting records and earning All-MPSF honorable mention notice as a senior in 1996. He was Volleyball Magazine's Small College Player of the Year in 1996, while also earning Small College All-America honors that same year.
Black received his bachelor's degree in political science from UCSD in 1996. A California native, Black prepped at Crespi High in Encino, Calif., where he made the All-CIF third team as a senior in 1991.