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Bruins in Paris

UCLA beach volleyball bests the Golden Bears, advances to NCAA semifinals

Sophomore Maggie Boyd rises to serve the ball. (Brandon Morquecho/Photo editor)

Beach Volleyball

No. 2 seed UCLA3
No. 7 seed California0

By Sevginaz Gurleyici

May 4, 2024 11:02 a.m.

This post was updated May 4 at 12:38 p.m.

It was time for a rematch in Gulf Shores.

History is known to repeat itself, which is exactly what happened in the quarterfinals at the NCAA championships.

In the 2023 tournament, then-No. 1 seed UCLA sent then-No. 8 seed California home during the quarterfinals with a 3-1 win. This time around, No. 2 seed UCLA beach volleyball (34-6, 2-0 Pac-12) took on No. 7 seed Cal (22-14, 1-1 Pac-12) during the quarterfinals once again. 

With a 16-0 all-time record against the Golden Bears, the Bruins walked onto the sand with a chance to continue the streak and earn their spot in the NCAA semifinals.

Following five set points, the first set of the duel went to court two of the Bruins, graduate student Devon Newberry and senior Peri Brennan, 21-13 after Cal sent the ball into the net. 

Court one had a neck-in-neck run throughout its first set of the matchup. With graduate student Lexy Denaburg cranking the ball down the line, the Bruins got to a 20-18 first set point, ultimately taking the opening set 21-19. 

With courts three and five also going to UCLA, the Bruins won four out of their five first sets. 

Court two faced the first potential duel point of the game, with UCLA getting its first set point at 20-14. During their second set point at 20-15, Brennan popped the ball into the open sand, getting UCLA the match point and its first point on the board, making the overall score 1-0. 

With its opportunity for the second duel point of the day, court three was at set point for UCLA at 20-17. An ace by redshirt freshman Kenzie Brower got the Bruins the match and duel point, bringing them to a 2-0 overall score during her first time playing at NCAAs. 

Graduate student Lexy Denaburg digs the ball. (Brandon Morquecho/Photo editor)

With courts four and five having split sets and heading toward a third, the entire duel and the coveted spot in the championship semifinals came down to court one. 

In a set that was once again neck-and-neck, the sophomore-graduate student duo found their groove mid-set as a 5-0 run brought them to 16-11. After a continued back-and-forth, sophomore Maggie Boyd found and sent the ball into open sand, bringing the Bruins to 19-14 with the chance of making it to set, match and duel point. 

Boyd made the point and brought the Bruins to 20-14, the fate of their spot in the quarterfinals now on the line. After a 3-0 run by the Golden Bears brought the score to 20-18, UCLA was ready to take its victory.

A set from Boyd to Denaburg allowed the graduate student to clinch their victory at 21-19, making the score 3-0 UCLA and securing the Bruins’ spot in the semifinals. 

Despite their early morning victory, the Bruins’ day is far from over. As they advance to the semifinals, they are set to take on the victors of the fourth quarterfinal matchup later today – No. 3 seed Stanford or No. 11 seed LSU. 

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Sevginaz Gurleyici
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