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USC Beach Volleyball Fights Through Florida State for 3-1 Win

May 7, 2021

GULF SHORES, Ala. – The second-seeded USC beach volleyball team (28-4) claimed a hard-fought 3-1 win over third-seeded Florida State (33-5) in the winner's bracket semifinal of the NCAA Championship on Friday, May 7. 
 
The Trojans advance to face fifth-seeded Loyola Marymount (31-6) in the winner's final set for 4 p.m. CT (2 p.m. PT) on Saturday, May 8. The dual will be shown live on ESPN2 with live streams from individual courts available on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
 
USC improved to 16-4 all-time at the NCAA Championship; to 23-8 in the state of Alabama; and to 14-5 all-time against Florida State.
 
Each of the top three courts finished in straight sets. USC claimed wins at the ones and twos while FSU won at the No. 3 position. The Trojans scored the first dual point on a 21-15, 21-13 win by junior All-American Tina Graudina and freshman Megan Kraft over Maddie Anderson and Alaina Chacon on the top court.
 
Moments later, the Seminoles evened the score with a win by Payton Caffrey and Molly McBain at court three, 21-18, 21-14, over Haley Hallgrenand Hailey Harward. The score was tied only for a moment because USC went ahead on a win from court two where graduate Julia Scoles and senior Sammy Slater took out Keara Rutz and Torrey Van Winden, 21-18, 21-11.
 
At courts four and five, Florida State won first sets, but the Trojan pairs fought back to go to third sets at each position. On five, sophomores Audrey Nourse and Nicole Nourse were tied 10-all after splitting a 21-19 sets with Jenna Johnson and Liz Waters-Leiga when play stopped. 
 
The clinching point came from court four where graduate Joy Dennis and freshman Delaynie Maple came back to win the second set, 21-17, after falling, 22-20, in the first against Sara Putt and Raelyn White. The Seminoles held the early 6-3 lead in the third frame, but Dennis-Maple fought back to pull away and get a 15-11 win to seal the dual. 
 
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 USC def. [3] No. 3 Florida State, 3-1
2021 NCAA Championship • Winner's Bracket Semifinal
Gulf Shores Beach • Gulf Shores, Ala.
Friday, May 7, 2021
RECORDS: USC (28-4), Florida State (33-5)
1. Tina GRAUDINA/Megan KRAFT (USC) def. Maddie ANDERSON/Alaina CHACON (FSU); 21-15, 21-13
2. Julia SCOLES/Sammy SLATER (USC) def. Keara RUTZ/Torrey VAN WINDEN (FSU); 21-18, 21-11
3. Payton CAFFREY/Molly McBAIN (FSU) def. Haley HALLGREN/Hailey HARWARD (USC); 21-18, 21-14
4. Joy DENNIS/Delaynie MAPLE (USC) def. Sara PUTT/Raelyn WHITE (FSU); 20-22, 21-17, 15-11
5. Audrey NOURSE/Nicole NOURSE (USC) vs. Jenna JOHNSON/Liz WATERS-LEIGA (FSU); 19-21, 21-19, 10-10 susp.
Order of finish: 1, 3, 2, 4*