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UCLA Beach Volleyball to Play Southern Cal for National Championship
After beating LMU, the Bruins will need to beat a tough Southern Cal team in order to threepeat.
The NCAA Beach Volleyball championship trophy will be coming back to Los Angeles. The only question remaining is whether it will be coming back to Westwood or heading across town. That’s because the Bruins defeated LMU this morning, 3-0, to advance to the championship match.
It wasn’t easy for UCLA to get to today’s title match. After UCLA lost to LMU on Friday, the top seed in this year’s tournament had to fight through the Elimination Bracket in order to be able to defend their back-to-back titles.
Yesterday, the Bruins sent Cal Poly home with a 3-0 win. That set up match between UCLA and LSU later in the day.
The match against the Tigers didn’t start the way the Bruins had hoped. The first court to finish was Court Four where Sydney Moore and Jess Lansman won in straight sets against Megan Muret and Jacqueline Quade, 21-15, 21-17. UCLA bounced back to tie the dual up at 1-1 on Court Two where Lea Monkhouse and Devon Newberry took care of business against Claire Coppola and Kelli Greene-Agnew, 21-19, 21-13.
The Tigers took a 2-1 lead and put the Bruins on the brink of elimination when Kristen Nuss and Taryn Kloth beat Savvy Simo and Lexy Denaburg, 23-21, 23-21, on Court One.
Except UCLA wasn’t ready to go home.
Abby Van Winkle and Lindsey Sparks were able to get past Ashlyn Rasnick-Pope and Toni Rodriguez, 23-21, 21-18, to tie it back up on Court Three and it meant that the Bruins just needed a win on Court Five to advance, but again, it wouldn’t be easy.
On Court Five, Rileigh Powers and Jaden Whitmarsh lost their first set to Olivia Ordonez and Kahlee York, 21-15. Powers and Whitmarsh were able to win the second set, 21-19, to force a third set to decide which team would move on and which team would go home. In the third set, the Bruin pair beat the Tiger pair, 15-12, to send UCLA to the Elimination Bracket semifinal this morning against Loyola Marymount.
Against the Lions, the Bruins jumped ahead 2-0 early. Sparks and Van Winkle quickly defeated Jessie Prichard and Savannah Slattery, 21-17, 21-18, on Court Three. Meanwhile, Powers and Whitmarsh were able to dispatch Emma Doud and Madi Firnett, 21-16, 21-7.
Those wins meant that UCLA only needed one more point to advance to the Championship Dual against Southern Cal. The Bruins took the opening set on two of the three courts in this morning’s second flight. Muret and Quade bested Jacinda Ramirez and Darby Dunn, 21-15, on Court Four while Simo and Denaburg took their opening set, 21-19, from Iva Lindahl and Megan Rice on Court One. On Court Two, the Bruin pair of Monkhouse and Newberry dropped their first set to Reka Orsi Toth and Serina Marolf, 22-20.
That set loss would prove inconsequential because, with Simo and Denaburg crushing Lindahl and Rice in their second set, 20-12, Lindahl committed a service error, giving the Bruins the set and the dual and sending UCLA back to the Championship Dual.
Now, there’s just one thing standing between UCLA and a threepeat, the only team to beat the Bruins this season prior to Friday — Southern Cal.
NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship Dual
Teams: #1 seed UCLA Bruins (31-4) vs. #2 Southern Cal (29-4)
When: 10:30 am PT, Sunday, May 9, 2021
Where: Gulf Beach Place, Gulf Shores, AL
Live Stream: WatchESPN.com and the ESPN app
Live Stats: NCAA.com
Official Championship Preview
Go Bruins!!! Beat $c!!! Bring home #120!!