No. 1 USC Beach Volleyball Sweeps No. 15 Long Beach State in Season Opener
LONG BEACH, Calif. – The No. 1-ranked USC beach volleyball team (1-0) swept No. 15 Long Beach State (0-1) at the LBSU Sand Courts on Thursday, Feb. 24. The defending NCAA champion Women of Troy improve to 11-0 all-time in season openers with the win.
In heavy wind, the Trojans secured their 10th straight victory over LBSU to improve to 11-5 all-time against the 49ers. It was the first time the teams played at Long Beach State's home venue since 2013. USC also improves to 113-13 all-time when ranked No. 1 in the AVCA poll.
Despite the clean 5-0 sweep, Trojan pairs at the Nos. 2 and 5 positions fought through three-setters to secure their victories. The first dual point was scored from the fourth position where twin juniors Audrey Nourse and Nicole Nourse dispatched of Claire Newlander and Jillian Rodriguez, 21-15, 22-20. All other USC pairs are newly formed this spring with the exception of the Nourse sisters who claimed their 37th-career victory as a duo.
USC went in front, 2-0, with a three-set win at court two. There, sophomore Megan Kraft and graduate Sammy Slater had leads in the opening frame, but struggled with the wind gusts and fell, 22-20, to Holland Jackson and Nicci Reinking. Down, 9-2, in the second set, USC mounted a furious comeback to get a 21-17 win. The third set was no contest as Kraft-Slater closed with a 15-2 thrashing of the LBSU pair.
In another straight-set victory, USC's No. 3 pair of sophomore Delaynie Maple and graduate Julia Scoles knocked off Emily Mattoon and Sydney Stevens, 21-14, 21-12, to clinch the dual. The Trojans added a fourth point from the top court in dramatic fashion. Senior Tina Graudina and graduate Hailey Harward stared down an 11-2 first-set deficit and came all the way back with a 19-7 burst to close a 21-18 win. The route was on after that as the Trojan duo defeated Skyler Germann and Katie Kennedy, 21-11, for the straight-set win.
Previously Bay Area Pac-12 rivals, graduates Caroline Schafer and Sunny Villapando teamed up to collect their first victory as teammates with a three-set win, 17-21, 21-18, 15-13, over Christine DeRoos and Sophie Major at the No. 5 position. In a non-scoring exhibition match, senior Mollie Ebertin and graduate Shannon Scully took down Leah Black and Haley Carrington in two sets, 21-12, 21-15.
The Women of Troy are back in action next weekend for four matches as part of the Battle for L.A. Invitational. USC takes on No. 2-ranked crosstown rival UCLA at Mapes Beach in Westwood at 10 a.m. PT on Saturday (March 5) and then plays No. 9 Grand Canyon at Merle Norman Stadium later that day (3 p.m.) in its home opener. The Trojans also play Stanford and get an early rematch with Long Beach State on Sunday, March 6, to complete the weekend.
For more information on the USC beach volleyball team, a complete schedule, and results, please visit USCTrojans.com/beach. Fans of the Women of Troy can follow the team on Instagram and on Twitter @USCBeach.
No. 1 USC def. No. 15 Long Beach State, 5-0
LBSU Sand Courts Long Beach, Calif.
Thursday, February 24, 2022
RECORDS: USC (1-0), Long Beach State (0-1)
1. Tina Graudina/Hailey Harward (USC) def. Skyler Germann/Katie Kennedy (LBSU); 21-18, 21-11
2. Megan Kraft/Sammy Slater (USC) def. Holland Jackson/Nicci Reinking (LBSU); 20-22, 21-17, 15-2
3. Delaynie Maple/Julia Scoles (USC) def. Emily Mattoon/Sydney Stevens (LBSU); 21-14, 21-12
4. Audrey Nourse/Nicole Nourse (USC) def. Claire Newlander/Jillian Rodriguez (LBSU); 21-15, 22-20
5. Caroline Schafer/Sunny Villapando (USC) def. Christine DeRoos/Sophie Major (LBSU); 17-21, 21-18, 15-13
Exh. Mollie Ebertin/Shannon Scully (USC) def. Leah Black/Haley Carrington (LBSU); 21-12, 21-15
Order of finish: 4, 2, 3*, 1, 5