Beach volleyball defeats LSU, advances to final round of elimination bracket
Redshirt freshman Jaden Whitmarsh sealed Saturday’s match for No. 1 seed UCLA beach volleyball over No. 4 seed LSU, with her service ace falling to the sand and giving the Bruins a 3-2 victory. (Jefferson Alade/Daily Bruin)
|No. 4 seed LSU||2|
|No. 1 seed UCLA||3|
May 8, 2021 4:55 p.m.
Once again, it came down to court five.
This time, Jaden Whitmarsh kept the Bruins’ three-peat hopes alive with a dual-winning service ace.
No. 1 seed UCLA beach volleyball (31-4, 10-0 Pac-12) took down No. 4 seed LSU (27-9, 4-1 CCSA) by a score of 3-2 on Saturday afternoon. advancing to the elimination bracket final Sunday morning against No. 5 seed LMU.
Freshman Rileigh Powers and redshirt freshman Jaden Whitmarsh dropped the first set 21-15, with a 21-19 response sending the match to a pivotal, dual-deciding third set as the overall score was tied 2-2. The pair of underclassmen jumped out to an 8-5 lead, maintaining the margin with a 10-7 advantage over Kahlee York and Olivia Ordonez.
Whitmarsh finished the set and the dual from the service line, giving the Bruins a 15-12 victory to put them through to the next round.
Before beginning play from Gulf Shores, Alabama, coach Stein Metzger said he was most worried about LSU and its tournament experience. After all, every Tiger who took the sand Saturday was an upperclassman, while the Bruins countered with just four.
UCLA had taken a pair of dual victories in April at Mapes Beach by combined scores
of 7-3, with the pairs of junior Megan Muret and graduate student Jacqueline Quade and Powers and Whitmarsh sweeping both of their contests on courts four and five, respectively.
Freshman Lexy Denaburg and graduate student Savvy Simo lost twice to Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss on April 3 on court one and were unable to grab the first frame after taking it was knotted up at 21 all. The second set also found itself tied at 21-21, and UCLA’s first flight sustained another 23-21 loss, extending Kloth and Nuss’ record to 36-0 on the campaign.
Quade and Muret opened their matchup by grabbing the first triplet of points, but Jess Lansman and Sydney Moore responded with an 8-1 scoring run. Lansman and Moore overcame Quade’s net defense to take the first set of the dual 21-15. The Tigers then got on the board on court four with a 21-17 set victory, taking a 1-0 lead.
Starting play alongside court four, junior Lea Monkhouse and freshman Devon Newberry jumped out to a 14-7 before the Tigers knotted the opening set at 18 points apiece. A set-point, right-handed smash from Monkhouse then gave the Bruins their first set win of the day 21-19. The pair won more decisively in the second set to even the dual score 1-1 with a 21-13 victory.
UCLA also found early success on court three, with a pair of points deciding a 23-21 set in sophomores Lindsey Sparks and Abby Van Winkle’s favor. The second set was decided without extra play required, winning 21-18.
UCLA will take on No. 5 seed LMU for the second time this tournament in the elimination bracket finals at 7 a.m. on Sunday. The Bruins fell to the Lions 3-2 on Friday and will need a victory to advance to their third-consecutive NCAA championship dual.