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USC Beach Volleyball Captures Fourth National Championship

May 9, 2021

GULF SHORES, Ala. Second-seeded USC (30-4) won the 2021 NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship with a 3-1 victory over top-seeded and No. 1-ranked UCLA (32-5) on Gulf Shores Beach on Sunday, May 9, to claim the program's fourth national crown.
 
The championship is the 131st all-time team national title for the storied USC athletic program and is the 108th NCAA championship in school history. The Women of Troy went 4-0 on the weekend and improved to 3-1 in four appearances in the NCAA championship dual. The Trojans also improved to 18-4 all-time at the NCAA Championship; to 25-8 in the state of Alabama; and to 16-13 all-time against UCLA.

 
The title is the first under second-year head coach Dain Blanton and the first since the Trojans won it in 2017. Following the completion of the championship dual, USC's No. 1 pair of junior All-American Tina Graudina and freshman Megan Kraft and the No. 2 pair of graduate Julia Scoles and senior All-American Sammy Slater were each named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team.
 
In the sixth meeting of the spring between the two crosstown rivals, USC scored the first point of the dual from the No. 3 position when senior Haley Hallgren and graduate Hailey Harward took down Lindsey Sparks and Abby Van Winkle, 21-14, 21-17. With the third and fifth pairs playing to completion first, UCLA evened the dual with a win at court five when Rileigh Powers and Jaden Whitmarsh defeated sophomores Audrey Nourse and Nicole Nourse, 21-13, 26-24.
 
The Trojans went on top, 2-1, with a win at the No. 1 position where Graudina-Kraft earned their eighth straight win to end the season with a 15-1 mark on a 21-16, 21-17 win over Lexy Denaburg and Savvy Simo.
 
On court two, Scoles and Slater went deep into extra points to get a 26-24 win in the first set over Lea Monkhouse and Devon Newberry. The Trojans maintained their tough service game and pulled away to claim a 21-15 win in the second set to clinch the dual and championship.

 
When play stopped, graduate Joy Dennis and freshman Delaynie Maple were battling Megan Muret and Jacqueline Quade at court four. UCLA eeked out a 24-22 win in the first set, but Dennis-Maple took a 21-16 win in the second. The pairs were tied at four at suspension.
 
For more information on the four-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. [1] No. 1 UCLA, 3-1
2021 NCAA Championship • Championship Dual
Gulf Shores Beach • Gulf Shores, Ala.
Sunday, May 9, 2021
RECORDS: USC (30-4), UCLA (32-5)
1. Tina GRAUDINA/Megan KRAFT (USC) def. Lexy DENABURG/Savvy SIMO (UCLA); 21-16, 21-17
2. Julia SCOLES/Sammy SLATER (USC) def. Lea MONKHOUSE/Devon NEWBERRY (UCLA); 26-24, 21-15
3. Haley HALLGREN/Hailey HARWARD (USC) def. Lindsey SPARKS/Abby VAN WINKLE (UCLA); 21-14, 21-17
4. Joy DENNIS/Delaynie MAPLE (USC) vs. Megan MURET/Jacqueline QUADE (UCLA); 22-24, 21-16, 4-4 susp.
5. Rileigh POWERS/Jaden WHITMARSH (UCLA) def. Audrey NOURSE/Nicole NOURSE (USC); 21-13, 26-24
Order of finish: 3, 5, 1, 2*