(David Rimer/Daily Bruin staff)
Mapes Beach – UCLA beach volleyball’s home court doubled as the site of the Pac-12 championships. The Bruins’ journey to the title spanned over the course of three days, sweeping No. 7 seed Washington and No. 3 seed Arizona on Thursday and Friday, respectively. UCLA would then advance to the finals against crosstown rival and No. 1 seed USC on Saturday. The clutch performances of two freshmen, Rileigh Powers and Jaden Whitmarsh, took their team over the top in a 3-2 victory against the Trojans to take home the title.
Day 1: Thursday, April 28th – No. 2 seed UCLA beach volleyball defeated No. 7 seed Washington by a score of 3-0.
Freshman Lexy Denaburg hits a crosscourt shot against Washington’s Shayne McPherson and Chloe Loreen.
Freshman Devon Newberry launches off the sand for an attack. Newberry and her partner junior Lea Monkhouse finished the second win of UCLA’s 3-0 sweep, winning 21-15 in the first set and 21-10 in the second.
Monkhouse digs the ball off an attack by Washington.
Junior Megan Muret dives to save the ball. Muret and her partner, graduate student Jacqueline Quade, took home UCLA’s first win of the day by defeating Washington’s Ashley Shook and Hannah Yerex 21-17, 21-14.
Graduate student Savvy Simo celebrates a win with Denaburg after clinching UCLA’s final set of its match against Washington. Simo and Denaburg went 21-15 in both sets, cutting the rest of the ongoing matches short and cueing a round of applause from fellow teammates on and off the sand.
Day 2: Friday, April 30th – No. 2 seed UCLA beach volleyball defeats No. 3 seed Arizona 3-0. It was the team’s second sweep of the Pac-12 Conference Championship.
Simo sends the ball over the net on court one. Simo and Denaburg collected a 21-16, 21-17 victory over Arizona’s duo Alana Rennie and Alex Parkhurst.
Redshirt freshman Jaden Whitmarsh meets Arizona’s Olivia Hallaran at the net. Whitmarsh went undefeated last season while partnered with freshman Rileigh Powers and the pair defeated their opponents 21-16, 21-19, giving the Bruins to a 2-0 lead over the Wildcats.
Sophomore Lindsey Sparks smiles while turning to her partner sophomore Abby Van Winkle for a high five on court three. The duo became the first to finish during the dual match with their 21-11, 21-15 triumph over Arizona’s pair of Natalie Anselmo and Carly Lowry.
Denaburg attempts to strike the ball against Parkhurst. Denaburg and Simo clinched the last point needed by the Bruins for their dual win against Arizona.
Newberry hits the ball against Arizona’s Brooke Burling. Newberry and Monkhouse went unfinished on court two as the Bruins claimed their 3-0 win.
Left to right: Van Winkle reaches for the ball, ready to strike it over the net. Newberry attempts to poke the ball past a block by a Wildcat. Whitmarsh returns the ball to Arizona’s pair of Hallaran and Hope Shannon.
Day 3: Saturday, May 1 – No. 2 UCLA beach volleyball earns a narrow 3-2 victory over No. 1 USC, securing the team’s first Pac-12 championship title since 2018.
Newberry jumps to block a kill from USC’s Julia Scoles in their semifinal matchup.
Quade bumps the volleyball during her first set of the Pac-12 final. Quade and Muret eventually conceded the first point of the match to USC.
Denaburg spikes the ball past Tina Graudina of USC.
Simo dives to rescue the ball as it falls toward the sand. Simo and Denaburg narrowly lost their second set, allowing USC to take a 2-1 lead in the duel.
Van Winkle and Sparks embrace after winning their third set. Their victory tied the match score at 2-2.
The Bruins form a dogpile on Powers and Whitmarsh after winning the Pac-12 championship. The freshman duo won their final set 23-21 after Powers sealed the conference title on a match-winning block.
UCLA beach volleyball celebrated its victory with leis, hats, shirts, and a new trophy. This was the Bruins’ second Pac-12 Beach Volleyball Championship title in the five-year history of the event.