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UCLA beach volleyball wins trio of duals at Pac-12 South Invitational

Sophomore Lexy Denaburg goes up to serve the ball. UCLA beach volleyball’s court one pair of Denaburg and junior Abby Van Winkle improved to 11-1 after three victories at the Pac-12 South Invitational. (Joseph Jimenez/Daily Bruin)

beach volleyball

No. 1 UCLA5
No. 1 UCLA4
No. 8 Stanford1
No. 1 UCLA5
No. 17 Arizona0

By Nick Darrow

March 28, 2022 3:47 p.m.

The Bruins opened Pac-12 play with three consecutive wins.

No. 1 UCLA beach volleyball (18-0, 3-0 Pac-12) competed at the Pac-12 South Invitational in Tucson on Saturday and Sunday, where it recorded three wins, including two against ranked teams. The Bruins swept Utah (5-8, 1-2) and defeated No. 8 Stanford (11-5, 5-3) 4-1 on Saturday before sweeping No. 17 Arizona (11-5, 2-2) on Sunday.

Following its win against the Utes on Saturday, UCLA opened up its dual against the Cardinal later that day by dropping four of five first sets but sweeping its match on court one.

After a loss on court two to tie the score at one match apiece, freshman Jessie Smith and graduate student Marlie Monserez were able to win 18-21, 21-17, 16-14 to put the Bruins up 2-1. Court three’s pair of redshirt sophomore Jaden Whitmarsh and sophomore Devon Newberry later nabbed a 16-21, 21-18, 17-15 three-set tiebreaker victory, giving UCLA the clinching win.

Coach Stein Metzger talked about how he has been impressed by his team’s grit as a whole.

“A comeback win shows they have confidence in their abilities and also that they’re not willing to fold even when their backs are against the wall,” Metzger said. “They are building up confidence that they need to go in and win matches.”

Freshmen Natalie Myszkowski and Sophie Moore emerged victorious in all their matches over the weekend, including a straight-set win over Utah and a pair of come-from-behind triumphs against Stanford and Arizona.

With three wins this weekend in the invitational, the duo have now moved to 17-0 on the season, making them the Bruins’ winningest pair. Metzger said he was impressed with the pair’s performance.

“As a team (Myszkowski and Moore), they were very experienced coming into college, and they have shown that,” Metzger said. “But I am extremely impressed that they are 17-0. They have certainly shown that they play really well together, and they really play for each other to figure out ways to win.”

After three more wins this weekend in Tucson as well, Denaburg and junior Abby Van Winkle have now moved to 11-1 as a pair.

Denaburg said she has not only worked to better herself as an athlete but also become a solid role model for her teammates.

“I try to set an example by doing what I do best and the younger players have learned really fast,” Denaburg said. “It is important to get in the film room and practice to the best of our abilities to make sure that we get better time in and time out.”

The Bruins will next play Thursday, where they will face No. 2 TCU and No. 9 Hawai’i at Mapes Beach.

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Nick Darrow | Sports reporter
Darrow is currently a Sports reporter on the men's soccer beat. He was previously a contributor on the women's tennis, men's volleyball and men's soccer beats.
Darrow is currently a Sports reporter on the men's soccer beat. He was previously a contributor on the women's tennis, men's volleyball and men's soccer beats.
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