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No. 1 UCLA Eliminates No. 4 LSU to Advance

May 8, 2021
Jaden Whitmarsh (10) and her partner, Rileigh Powers (4) clinched the Bruins' dual win over LSU on court five.

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GULF SHORES, Ala. -- No. 1 UCLA (31-4) advanced in the contender's bracket on Saturday late afternoon with a 3-2 win over No. 4 LSU (27-8) at the 2021 NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship at Gulf Place. With the win, the Bruins improved to 11-2 all-time against the Tigers. At the end of the day, the younger team with four freshmen and the youngest team left in the field had kept its composure and rallied to win.

The Tigers took a 1-0 lead after Sydney Moore and Jess Lansman defeated UCLA's Megan Muret and Jacqueline Quade on court four 21-15, 21-17.

UCLA quickly tied it up at 1-1 after Lea Monkhouse and Devon Newberry won in two sets on court two (21-19, 21-13) over LSU's Claire Coppola and Kelli Greene-Agnew.

LSU went up 2-1 with a tight two-set win on court one by Kristen Nuss and Taryn Kloth, 23-21, 23-21, over the Bruins' Savvy Simo and Lexy Denaburg.

Seconds later, Lindsey Sparks served an ace on court three to give her and her partner, Abby Van Winkle, a straight-set win over the Tigers' Ashlyn Rasnick-Pope and Toni Rodgriguez 23-21, 21-18. The win tied the dual at 2-2.

Like they did earlier in the day, the Bruins got the clinching dual point on court five where a pair of freshmen in Rileigh Powers and Jaden Whitmarsh took down a pair of seniors in LSU's Olivia Ordonez and Kahlee York. Powers and Whitmarsh dropped the first set 21-15, but rallied to win the second, 21-19. Whitmarsh served an ace on dual-clinching point to give her duo a 15-12 win in the third set and the Bruins a 3-2 dual match victory, the third win over the more experienced Tigers this season (five seniors, one graduate, zero freshmen in the lineup).

The Bruins will take on No. 5 LMU (31-7 and the oldest lineup in the field with two seniors and five graduates) in the contender's bracket final on Sunday, May 9 at 7:00 a.m. PDT on ESPN2. The winner will face No. 2 USC for the 2021 NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship at 10:30 a.m. PDT on ESPN2.

No. 1 UCLA def. No. 4 LSU, 3-2
Gulf Place • Gulf Shores, Ala.
2021 NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship

Saturday, May 8, 2021
RECORDS: UCLA (31-4), LSU (27-8)
1. Kristen Nuss/Taryn Kloth (LSU) def. Savvy Simo/Lexy Denaburg (UCLA); 23-21, 23-21
2. Lea Monkhouse/Devon Newberry (UCLA) def. Claire Coppola/Kelli Greene-Agnew (LSU); 21-19, 21-13
3. Abby Van Winkle/Lindsey Sparks (UCLA) def. Ashlyn Rasnick-Pope/Toni Rodgriguez (LSU); 23-21, 21-18
4. Sydney Moore/Jess Lansman (LSU) def. Megan Muret/Jacqueline Quade (UCLA); 21-15, 21-17
5. Rileigh Powers/Jaden Whitmarsh (UCLA) def. Olivia Ordonez/Kahlee York (LSU); 15-21, 21-19, 15-12
Order of finish: 4, 2, 1, 3, 5*