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USC Beach Volleyball Falls to UCLA in Pac-12 Championship Dual

May 1, 2021

LOS ANGELES – The top-seeded and No. 1-ranked USC beach volleyball team (26-4) fell narrowly, 3-2, to second-seeded and No. 2-ranked UCLA (28-3) in the Pac-12 Championship Dual on Mapes Beach on Saturday, May 1.
 
It was the fourth time the teams met in the league's championship dual and is UCLA's second conference title. Following the dual, USC's top pair of junior Tina Graudina and freshman Megan Kraft and the No. 4 USC pair of graduate Joy Dennis and freshman Delaynie Maple were each named to the Pac-12 Championship All-Tournament Team.
 
USC seized early control of the dual with a win at the No. 4 position where Dennis and Maple defeated Megan Muret and Jacqueline Quade, 21-16, 21-16. It took three sets, but UCLA evened the dual with a win at the No. 2 position where Lea Monkhouse and Devon Newberry defeated graduate Julia Scoles and senior Sammy Slater, 15-21, 21-12, 15-13.
 
The Trojans went in front once more when Graudina-Kraft collected a 21-19, 21-17 win over Lexy Denaberg and Savvy Simo at the top court. Again, the Bruins tied the dual with a second three-set win at the No. 3 spot where Lindsey Sparks and Abby Van Winkle defeated senior Haley Hallgrenand graduate Hailey Harward, 11-21, 21-15, 15-11.
 
The Women of Troy fought tooth and nail at the No. 5 spot, but the Trojans' sophomore duo of Audrey Nourse and Nicole Nourse were turned away in straight sets by Rileigh Powers and Jaden Whitmarsh, 21-17, 23-21, to clinch the championship.
 
USC fell to 15-13 all-time against UCLA (3-2 this season) and went to 18-5 in duals at the Pac-12 Championship with a 76-19 record in individual matches. The Trojans also go to 70-15 all-time against Pac-12 opponents with the loss.
 
USC now awaits its postseason fate as the NCAA makes its eight-team selections for the championship field on Sunday (May 2) at 4 p.m. PT on NCAA.com. The Women of Troy own three national championships (2015 AVCA; 2016-17 NCAA).
 
For more information on the three-time national champion USC beach volleyball team and a complete schedule, please visit USCTrojans.com and follow @USCBeach on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
 
[2] No. 2 UCLA def. [1] No. 1 USC, 3-2
2021 Pac-12 Championship • Championship Dual
Mapes Beach • Los Angeles, Calif.
Saturday, May 1, 2021
RECORDS: USC (26-4), UCLA (28-3)
1. Tina GRAUDINA/Megan KRAFT (USC) def. Lexy DENABERG/Savvy SIMO (UCLA); 21-19, 21-17
2. Lea MONKHOUSE/Devon NEWBERRY (UCLA) def. Julia SCOLES/Sammy SLATER (USC); 15-21, 21-12, 15-13 
3. Lindsey SPARKS/Abby VAN WINKLE (UCLA) def. Haley HALLGREN/Hailey HARWARD (USC); 11-21, 21-15, 15-11 
4. Joy DENNIS/Delaynie MAPLE (USC) def. Megan MURET/Jacqueline QUADE (UCLA); 21-16, 21-16
5. Rileigh POWERS/Jaden WHITMARSH (UCLA) def. Audrey NOURSE/Nicole NOURSE (USC); 21-17, 23-21
Order of finish: 4, 2, 1, 3, 5*