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Beach volleyball falls to USC, 3-0, in NCAA title game


GULF COAST, Ala. – The No. 2 UCLA beach volleyball team lost 3-0 to No. 1 USC in the NCAA championship on Sunday afternoon at Gulf Beach Place. USC (37-5) improved to 4-3 in the season series against crosstown rival UCLA.


The Bruins (35-7) finished as NCAA Tournament runners-up for the second straight season and were seeking their first NCAA championship since winning back-to-back beach volleyball titles in 2018 and 2019. Sunday’s match marked the first NCAA championship doubles to have all five matches end in three sets.


USC won the first two games of the day, which took place on courts two and four.


USC’s tandem of Madison White and Maddi Kriz defeated UCLA’s senior duo Peri Brennan and graduate student Devon Newberry. USC’s scores in the match on court two were 14-21, 21-19 and 15-13.


In a simultaneous afternoon match on court four, UCLA’s tandem of graduate students Jaden Whitmarsh and oldest Tessa Van Winkle lost to Ashley Pater and Grace Seits of USC. Set scores for USC were 24-26, 25-23 and 15-8.


The matches on courts one, three and five started approximately 15 minutes later, with each of these matches progressing to a winner-take-all third set.


USC’s Audrey Norse and Nicole Nourse earned the championship point on court three, defeating UCLA junior Jessie Smith and redshirt freshman Kenzie Bower with scores of 22-20, 15-21 and 15-11.


The matches on courts one and five were called off mid-afternoon. UCLA sophomore Maggie Boyd and graduate student Lexy Denaburg dropped the first set to USC’s Laynie Maple and Megan Kraft, 21-16. UCLA won the second set 21-18 and trailed USC 8-4 in the third set.


On court five, UCLA junior Natalie Myszkowski and redshirt freshmen Ensley Alden won the opening set 21-17 and lost the second set 23-21, forcing a winner-take-all third set. That last set was broken up with the Bruins trailing 4-2 against the USC tandem of Mabyn Thomas and Madison Goellener.



No. 1 USC final No. 2UCLA, 3-0

Gulf Beach Place • Gulf Shores, Ala.
Sunday, May 5, 2024 • 8:00 AM PT
Data: USC (37-5), UCLA (35-7)
1. Laynie Maple/Megan Kraft (USC) vs…. Maggie Boyd/Lexy Denaburg (UCLA) 21-16, 18-21, 8-4, truncated
2. Madison White/Maddi Kriz (USC) def. Peri Brennan/Devon Newberry (UCLA) 21-14, 19-21, 15-13
3. Audrey Nourse/Nicole Nourse (USC) def. Jessie Smith/Kenzie Broer (UCLA) 22-20, 15-21, 15-11
4. Ashley Pater/Grace Seits (USC) def. Jaden Whitmarsh/Tessa Van Winkle (UCLA) 24-26, 25-23, 15-8
5. Mabyn Thomas/Madison Goellner (USC) vs. Natalie Myszkowski/Ensley Alden (UCLA) 17-21, 23-21, 4-2, truncated
Order of finishing: 2, 4, 3*