Women’s Beach Volleyball | November 05, 2023
SANTA MONICA, Calif. – USC beach volleyball’s pair of senior All-American Delaynie Maple (San Diego, Calif.) and sophomore Gabby Walker (Flower Mound, Texas) took down UCLA duo Kenzie Brower and Jessica Smith in straight sets, 21-14, 21-19, to secure the BVNE (Beach Volleyball National Events) Collegiate Preseason Tournament AAA Gold title at North Santa Monica Beach on Sunday, Nov. 5.
Maple-Walker secured their spot in the championship match with a 21-15, 22-20 win over the Bruins’ pair of Natalie Myszkowski and Rileigh Powers in the semifinal and got a 21-16, 21-16 win over UCLA’s Sophie Moore and Tessa Van Winkle in the first round of the AAA gold bracket’s playoffs. Senior All-American Megan Kraft(San Diego, Calif.) and graduate Nicole Nourse (Newport Beach, Calif.) also reached the AAA gold semifinal but were defeated by Brower-Smith.
In the AAA silver bracket, senior Olivia Bakos (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) paired with graduate Audrey Nourse (Newport Beach, Calif.) to claim the silver championships with a win over Loyola Marymount’s top pair of Chloe Hooker and Alisha Stevens, 21-8, 21-17.
At the AA level, sophomore Mabyn Thomas (Southlake, Texas) and freshman Kaylee Young (Southlake, Texas) won the silver bracket title with a 21-16, 21-17 win over CUI’s Kelia Giusta and Lexi Godbey. USC’s duo of freshman Grace Hong (Newport Beach, Calif.) and sophomore Bailey Showalter (North Bend, Wash.) reached the AA gold bracket playoffs but fell in the first round.
Under fifth-year head coach Dain Blanton, the USC beach volleyball team captured its third straight NCAA Championship (fifth NCAA title and sixth national title) in 2023. The Women of Troy finished the year ranked No. 1 and had an overall record of 32-5. USC added two more AVCA All-Americans to its history books with the third selection for Megan Kraft and the first-career honor for Delaynie Maple. Kraft was named the Pac-12’s Player of the Year while she and Maple earned Pac-12 Pair of the Year laurels. Both were named to the Pac-12 All-Conference Team and were joined by Madison Shields and Madison White. Blanton finished his fourth season with a…