Thursday, 23 March 2023

NCAA Beach Volleyball

UCLA to Open 2023 Beach VB Campaign at No. 1

UCLA to Open 2023 Beach VB Campaign at No. 1

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LOS ANGELES — The UCLA Bruins are ranked No. 1 in the AVCA Collegiate Beach Volleyball Preseason Poll that was released today. The Bruins received 12 of the 23 first-place votes and had 442 points. Florida State ranked second with two first-place votes and 420 points while TCU was third and received one first-place vote and 408 points. Coming in fourth was USC with eight first-place votes and 400 points. LSU rounded out the top five with 350 points.

The Bruins return nine of 10 starters from last year’s third-place team at the NCAA Championship that saw UCLA end the year with an overall record of 34-9. The Bruins’ lone loss from the starting lineup was Lea Monkhouse from court three (29-12 overall). UCLA also lost the services of reserve Maggie Walters (1-2 overall).

The nine starters returning include: from court one, All-Americans Abby Van Winkle and Lexy Denaburg (30-11), from court two, Jaden Whitmarsh and Devon Newberry (28-7), from court three, 2022 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Jessie Smith (27-11), from court four Marlie Monserez and Rileigh Powers (10-5), and from court five Natalie Myszkowski and Sophie Moore (28-7).

UCLA will also regain the services of All-Pac-12 performer (2021) Lindsey Sparks, who missed all of last season due to an injury. The Bruins also return a lot of talent waiting to make an impact. This group includes Tessa Van Winkle (9-2 in 2022), Peri Brennan (3-0), Pani Napoleon (3-2), Katie Hashman (1-2), and Madeline Bonanni (0-0).

The Bruins also picked up two players from the transfer portal that will compete for playing time in 2023. Those two are Haley Hallgren, who won an NCAA Championship with USC Beach VB in 2021 and has played the last two seasons on the Michigan indoor team, and Reagan Hope, who played one season of indoor volleyball at Oregon and went 18-11 on court one for the Ducks’ beach squad in 2022.

The Bruins also brought in several young players that will all debut in 2023. The class includes Jayla Shanks (Corona, Calif./Santiago HS), Kenzie Brower (Naperville, Ill./Naperville Central HS), and 2022 AVCA Junior Beach All-Americans Ensley Alden (Vista, Calif./San Marcos HS/Tamarack BVC), Maggie Boyd (Flower Mound, Texas/Madsand BVC), Macey Butler (Austin, Texas/Westlake HS/AJV Sand),…

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