Saturday, 13 April 2024
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No. 1 USC, No. 2 UCLA and No. 3 Stanford go 2-0 at Death Volley Invitational

No. 1 USC, No. 2 UCLA and No. 3 Stanford go 2-0 at Death Volley Invitational

Stanford’s Brooke Rockwell goes all out against FAU/Sean Cripple photo

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — LSU could not have asked for more.

An absolutely perfect Good Friday here, temps in the low 70s without a cloud in the sky. Just like Southern California.

The best field ever for an in-season NCAA beach volleyball tournament.

But the volleyball piece was tough for the home team, as the four squads from the West in the Death Volley Invitational dominated the four teams from the East.

To wit:

No. 1 USC came away with 5-0 victories over No. 4 TCU and No. 17 Florida Atlantic.

No. 2 UCLA beat No. 5 Florida State 4-1 and then left TCU reeling, when it also beat the Horned Frogs 5-0.

No. 3 Stanford beat both FAU and No. 10 LSU 5-0.

No. 6 Cal lost 3-2 to FSU but came back and took it to the hometown Tigers to wrap up the day, winning 4-1, sweeping the four matches it won. 

Perhaps the best-played and most entertaining matches involved three-set losses by TCU’s No. 1 team of Hailey Hamlet and Anehlina Khmi, last week’s AVCA national pair of the week. The lost to USC’s Megan Kraft and Delaynie Maple 21-14, 21-23, 15, and then fell to UCLA’s Lexy Denaburg 24-22, 21-19.

And the TCU pair gets no breather in their first match Saturday, when they open with Stanford’s rock-solid No.1 of Xolani Hodel and Brooke Rockwell.

Saturday’s slate at the LSU Beach Volleyball Courts promises more top college competition.

At 8 a.m. Central, Stanford plays TCU.

Cal vs. FAU is scheduled for 9:15, meaning both of those West Coast teams have early starts for teams from the Pacific time zone.

Stanford gets to head home early, because the Cardinal then play Florida State at 10:30 a.m.

Before the day ends, LSU plays USC, Cal plays TCU, UCLA plays FAU, USC plays FSU and the two-day event wraps up with LSU vs. UCLA.

All matches can be seen on Volleyball World TV.

Stanford has been a program on the upswing. Last season, the Cardinal finished 29-13 in duals and advanced to the NCAA Championships, where they beat Grand Canyon but got swept by TCU.

This year, Stanford is on a roll, 16-2 after Saturday. That includes a victory over USC, two over UCLA and one over TCU. Its only defeats were to UCLA and then-No. 10 Arizona State, both 3-2.

Stanford boasts a lineup from top to bottom that is quick, athletic, and obviously talented.

“On the recruiting landscape, we obviously try to get people who are really dynamic and move well and have good arms and all that stuff, but I think we try to meet the athletes…

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