LSU Beach Volleyball head coach Russell Brock has been named the 2019 National Coach of the Year by DiG Volleyball Magazine in its latest issue. LSU’s Court 1 duo of Claire Coppola and Kristen Nusspicked up their third All-America honor as well.
Brock, the 2017 CCSA Coach of the Year, has led LSU to new heights in his first three seasons at the helm. After spending three seasons as the associate head coach to Fran Flory, Brock has commanded the Tigers to three consecutive NCAA Championship Tournament appearances since taking over the program.
In 2019 LSU went 31-8 under Brock, a program-best record. The Tigers made a historic run to the NCAA semifinals and finished No. 3 in the nation as the highest ranked team in the East.
Coppola and Nuss showed up on campus for Brock’s first season as the head coach. Since then, the Tigers’ top duo has gone on to become to two winningest players in program history as they currently sit at 91 wins, competing in every collegiate match together. The LSU players both earned ACVA and volleyballmag.com All-America honors in May.
Going into the 2019 season, Coppola and Nuss were chosen as the preseason CCSA Pair of the Year and Nuss won the fan vote for preseason player of the year. They lived up to the hype.
Their 33 victories this season are a new single-season wins’ record for individual players and a pair. Only one other pair in the nation, All-Americans Abril Bustamante and Tina Graudina from USC’s top court, had the same number of victories on any court.
Starting against Stetson on March 29, Coppola and Nuss would reel off 18 straight victories, dropping only one set during the run. At one point, the LSU duo won 32 consecutive sets. They dropped their first set in weeks during the CCSA Championship match against FSU, but their match on Court 1 would go unfinished as Florida State clinched the championship.
After winning CCSA Pair of the Year in 2018, Coppola and Nuss repeated this season, becoming the first pair ever to win the award twice.
Coppola and Nuss picked up victories in LSU’s first two matches at the NCAA Championship against Pepperdine and Stetson. After forcing a third set against All-American Megan and Nicole McNamara from UCLA, the battle on Court 1 would go unfinished as the Bruins advanced to the NCAA Championship Match. Coppola and Nuss would suffer their first loss in over a month to Bustamante and Graudina from USC during the final day of the NCAA Championship.
Coppola and Nuss won the USAV Collegiate Beach Championship for the second consecutive season in May.
Going into their senior season, Coppola and Nuss will look to become the first LSU pair to win 100 matches ever and have the chance to become the only three time winners of CCSA Pair of the Year. Next year, the Tigers will return at least eight players who saw action at the NCAA Championship this season, making a historic run and finishing as a program-best No. 3 in the nation.