Utah Beach Volleyball Falls To #1 UCLA and #3 USC
TUCSON, Ariz. – Utah Beach Volleyball faced last year's national champions and national runner-ups on Saturday to begin Pac-12 play, ultimately falling to No. 1 UCLA and No. 3 USC by a score of 5-0 at Bear Down Beach at the Pac-12 South Invitational. Utah will continue its tough stretch tomorrow with its fourth-straight match against a top-8 team in No. 8 Stanford, before closing out the tournament against Oregon.
Utah began Pac-12 play with a tough task on tap as the Utes matched up against top-ranked UCLA, which was last year's national runner ups. UCLA got it going early on the top three courts, but Utah battled in tight sets on courts four and five all the way through the first set. Kylie Pitzak and Sydney Jacinto pulled out the 21-19 first-set victory to try and get the team some momentum. Meanwhile on court four, Sommer Daniel and Lauren Sayre had a marathon set and after having a few set points themselves, the duo ultimately dropped the tightly contested set 25-23.
Utah's No. 3 pair of Marissa Koch and Samantha Leight played a closer second set and saw a shot by Koch down the line cut the score to just 19-17 in favor of the Bruins. Although the timely sideout, UCLA's No. 3 pair scored consecutive points to close out the set. With the match already clinched, Jacinto and Pitzak battled in a third set, but would go on to fall 15-8 to close out the first match of the day.
Against USC, the Utes ran into another tough battle as the reigning national champions got off to a hot start and took every first set to start the day. Sage Patchell and Amaya Messier played within a few points of USC's No. 2 pair during the first set, but dropped the frame 21-16 in the end. The second sets continued to go the Trojans' way as the third-ranked USC squad quickly secured four of the five courts.
The last court playing for Utah would come on court four as Sayre and Daniel battled in another marathon match. The 4s for Utah dropped the first set 21-12, but bounced back in the second set and managed to collect four set points. Beginning with a 20-18 lead for Utah, the two pairs alternated through set points for Utah and match points for USC, and after the pair of USC's Scully/Schafer earned a 26-25 lead for their fifth match point, the duo ultimately put Sayre and Daniel away for good to complete the sweep.
Utah will close out action at the Pac-12 South Invitational tomorrow against No. 8 Stanford and Oregon. The Utes are set to play Stanford at 10:15 a.m. MT, while the Utes and Ducks will compete at 4:30 p.m. MT at Bear Down Beach. Both matches will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.
#1 UCLA 5, Utah 0
1. Lexy Denaburg/Abby Van Winkle (UCLA) def. Grace Andrews/Bella Vezzani (UU), 21-8, 21-12
2. Rileigh Powers/Lea Monkhouse (UCLA) def. Sage Patchell/Amaya Messier (UU), 21-13, 21-10
3. Sophie Moore/Natalie Myszkowski (UCLA) def. Marissa Koch/Samantha Leight (UU), 21-13, 21-17
4. Jaden Whitmarsh/Marlie Monserez (UCLA) def. Sommer Daniel/Lauren Sayre (UU), 25-23, 21-15
5. Tessa Van Winkle/Pani Napoleon (UCLA) def. Kylie Pitzak/Sydney Jacinto (UU), 19-21, 21-15, 15-8
Order of finish: 1,3,2,4,5
#3 USC 5, Utah 0
1. Delaynie Maple/Julia Scoles (USC) def. Grace Andrews/Bella Vezzani (UU) 21-9, 21-9
2. Megan Kraft/Hailey Harward (USC) def. Sage Patchell/Amaya Messier (UU) 21-16, 21-14
3. Audrey Nourse/Nicole Nourse (USC) def. Marissa Koch/Samantha Leight (UU) 21-9, 21-12
4. Shannon Scully/Caroline Schafer (USC) def. Sommer Daniel/Lauren Sayre (UU), 21-12, 27-25
5. Sunny Villapando/Mollie Ebertin (USC) def. Kylie Pitzak/Sydney Jacinto (UU) 21-14, 21-11
Order of finish: 2,1,5,3,4