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GULF SHORES, Ala. — No. 1 UCLA (40-4) dropped the first two points of the dual and could never recover as a late rally ended with a 3-2 defeat to No. 3 USC (32-5) in the NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship on Sunday afternoon at Gulf Beach Place. UCLA fell to 17-23 all-time against the Trojans, who won their third straight NCAA Beach title.
USC scored the first point of the dual on court four when Jenna Johnson and Ashlyn Rasnick-Pope defeated graduate student Marlie Monserez and sophomore Jessie Smith, 22-20, 21-14, to put the Trojans up 1-0. The Bruin duo ended the year at 15-2 overall (12-2 on court four). Monserez ended her Bruin career with an overall record of 48-17 while Smith is 53-17. The duo had a great postseason as well, going 7-2 (3-1 at NCAAs).
The Trojans went up 2-0 after Madison White and Madison Shields outlasted graduate student Abby Van Winkle and junior Peri Brennan on court two, 24-22, 21-23, 15-9. The Bruin duo ended the year at 29-4 overall (23-1 on court two). Brennan is now 37-5 overall in her career while Van Winkle ends hers as the Bruins’ all-time leader in career victories with a 128-34 record. The tandem had a great postseason as well, going 7-1 in postseason (2-1 at NCAAs).
UCLA’s court one pair of senior Lexy Denaburg and freshman Maggie Boyd started the comeback with a huge 21-17, 21-13, win over the Pac-12 Pair of the Year in Megan Kraft and Delaynie Maple and the Pac-12 Player of the Year in Kraft. The Bruin duo ended the year at 24-6 overall (21-6 on court one). Boyd is 27-6 overall and Denaburg won her 100th victory today and is now 100-29 in her career. The tandem had a great postseason as well, going 5-1 in postseason (4-0 at NCAAs) and were named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team.
Then graduate student Jaden Whitmarsh and senior Devon Newberry tied the dual at 2-2 with a 21-18, 21-19, win on court five over Olivia Bakos and Gabby Walker. The Bruin duo ended the year at 11-0 overall (all on court five). Newberry is now 71-20 in her career while Whitmarsh ended her career with an 85-16 record. The tandem had a great postseason as well, going 7-0 in the postseason (2-0 at NCAAs) and were also named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team.
It all came down to court five where USC’s Audrey Nourse…
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