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USC Beach Volleyball's Megan Kraft and Delaynie Maple Capture U19 World Championship Gold

Dec 11, 2021

PHUKET, THAILAND USC beach volleyball sophomores Megan Kraft (San Diego, Calif./Torrey Pines HS) and Delaynie Maple (San Diego, Calif./Torrey Pines HS) won gold medals as representatives of Team USA at the 2021 FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championships on Saturday, Dec. 11.

"This whole experience was unbelievable," said Kraft. "Battling some of the best teams from all over the world was so much fun. We wouldn't have won without our amazing squad, our coaches, and our teammates. A big 'thank you' goes out to them. We feel very blessed and happy together!"

"The last two weeks, I've had some of the most fun ever playing volleyball," said Maple. "I'm so thankful we had the opportunity to represent the USA. It was an experience of a lifetime getting to compete against the best of the world and I couldn't be more proud to have done it with Meg!"  

The Trojans' second-year duo defeated Russia's Olga Gavrilova and Alina Salmanova in the championship match by a dominant 21-12, 21-17 count and finished 7-0 in the main draw with only one set loss.
Kraft-Maple went through the other American tandem of Xolani Hodel and Kate Reilly (both Stanford student-athletes) in the semifinal and secured a spot in the gold-medal match with a 21-17, 21-15 win.
After going 3-0 to win their pool with an impressive two-to-one scoring ratio, Kraft and Maple earned a first-round bye in the knockout rounds. They then took down Netherlands' Desy Poiesz and Brecht Piersma in three sets, 17-21, 21-8, 15-10, in the round of 16; and then defeated Italy's Valentina Gottardi and Aurora Mattavelli, 21-10, 22-20, in the quarterfinals.
Kraft and Maple went 7-0 in the main draw (8-0 overall) and dropped just one set on their way to becoming only the second American pair to capture U19 gold (Jane Croson/Summer Ross, 2010). They are the first U.S. pair to medal at the U19 championship since Kathryn Plummer and Mima Mirkovic claimed bronze medals in 2016 (Larnaka, Cyprus) and represent the first Trojans to earn U19 medals since USC All-Americans Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes won bronze in 2013 (Porto, Portugal) prior to arriving at Troy.
USC captured the program's fourth national championship (third NCAA crown) with a win over crosstown rival UCLA in the 2021 NCAA Championship dual. Under second-year head coach Dain Blanton, USC went 30-4 and had winning streaks of 13 and 12 matches during the season. The Trojans finished as the Pac-12 runner-up and produced the league's Pair of the Year in Tina Graudina and Megan Kraft. Graudina was also named Pac-12 Player of the Year and Kraft was the conference's Freshman of the Year. Both were named first-team AVCA All-Americans and were joined on the first team by Julia Scoles and Sammy Slater.
For more information on the USC beach volleyball team, a complete schedule, and results, please visit Fans of the Women of Troy can follow the team on Instagram and on Twitter @USCBeach.