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No. 3 UCLA Heads To Gulf Shores for NCAA Championship

May 1, 2022
The third-seeded Bruins open the NCAA Championship on Wednesday, May 4 at 12:00 p.m. PT on ESPNU.

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LOS ANGELES -- No. 3 UCLA (31-7) heads to Gulf Shores, Ala., for the 2022 NCAA Women's Beach Volleyball Championship May 4, 6-8. The third-seeded Bruins will open play on Wednesday, May 4 at 2:00 p.m. CT/12:00 p.m. PT against 14th-seeded Stetson (23-16) at Gulf Place Beach. This is a single elimination dual and will be televised live on ESPNU. The winner will move on and be placed in the double-elimination bracket and will face the winner of sixth-seeded LSU (30-10) and 11th-seeded California (26-13) on Friday, May 6 at Noon CT/10:00 a.m. PT on ESPNU.
Opponent: No. 14 Stetson (23-16) | WATCH
Location: Gulf Place Beach | Gulf Shores, Ala.
Date: Wednesday, May 4, 2022
Time: 12:00 p.m. PT/2:00 p.m. CT
Series History: UCLA leads 3-0
Streak: Won 3
Last Meeting: W 5-0 (Mar. 29, 2019 at FIU Surf-N-Turf Invitational - Lummus Park Beach Courts - Miami, Fla.)

UCLA is making its sixth NCAA Tournament appearance in 2022 and has won two national titles (2018 and 2019). The Bruins set a school, Pac-12, and NCAA record with 40 wins during the 2018 campaign. UCLA is 17-7 (.708) all-time in duals at the NCAA Championship and has one second-, one third- and one fifth-place finish in addition to the two national titles. Additionally, the Bruins have a 151-97 (.609) record in total sets played during the NCAA Championship. The Bruins are 19-7 (.731) against the 2022 NCAA Tournament field this season. UCLA is 1-4 vs. No. 1 USC and 0-2 vs. No. 2 TCU in 2022. The Bruins are 18-1 vs. the rest of the field this season (1-1 vs. No. 4 Loyola Marymount, 2-0 vs. No. 5 Florida State, 2-0 vs. No. 6 LSU, 1-0 vs. No. 7 GCU, 1-0 vs. No. 8 Florida Atlantic, 3-0 vs. No. 9 Stanford, 1-0 vs. No. 10 Georgia State, 2-0 vs. No. 11 California, 2-0 vs. No. 12 Cal Poly, 3-0 vs. No. 13 Hawai'i).

The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) announced its 10th annual AVCA Collegiate Beach All-America Teams and two Bruins made the list. UCLA's pair on court one, Lexy Denaburg and Abby Van Winkle, were both named to the first team. Denaburg and Van Winkle are the eighth and ninth first team All-Americans in program history. The duo is 23-8 overall with 17 of the pair's 23 wins coming against teams ranked in the AVCA Collegiate Beach Poll and also came on court one. They also are the only pair that has beaten USC's Tina Graudina and Hailey Harward (27-1) and they did it in their very first match together this season. This is Denaburg's second consecutive season earning first team All-American acclaim after being named to the first team last year with Savvy Simo. For Van Winkle, this is the first All-American honors of her career.

UCLA's Lexy Denaburg and Abby Van Winkle from court one and Devon Newberry and Jaden Whitmarsh on court two were all named to the 2022 Pac-12 Championship All-Tournament Team. Van Winkle and Denaburg were 3-1 on court one in the Pac-12 Tournament with the only loss coming to USC. They led USC's top pair in final, 21-18, 13-14, but their match was truncated. Newberry and Whitmarsh were 1-1 on court two with the only loss coming to USC. But they were leading 21-19, 15-13 against Stanford, 21-17, 14-15, against California, and 15-21, 22-20, 2-0 against USC when their matches were truncated.

UCLA graduate student Lea Monkhouse has been named the Pac-12 Beach Volleyball Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the 2022 season, the conference announced tonight. The award is presented in each of the 24 sports sponsored by the Pac-12 and was established to honor collegiate student-athletes that are standouts both academically and in their sports discipline. Monkhouse, who received her bachelor's in communication with a 3.72 grade-point average, is currently pursuing a graduate degree in education and has a 3.86 grade-point average in her advanced coursework. A 2019 NCAA champion and AVCA second-team All-American in 2021, Monkhouse was also named to the All-Pac-12 second team last season. She earned the Athletic Director's Academic Excellence Award, which is awarded to senior student-athletes who have made the Director's Honor Roll (3.0+ GPA in 12+ graded units) every quarter they were enrolled at UCLA. Prior to arriving in Westwood, Monkhouse spent her freshman year at Hawai'i, where she was named the Big West Freshman of the Year and AVCA Top Flight Award recipient in 2018. Monkhouse is the second Bruin to earn Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year in beach volleyball (Izzy Carey - 2019) and the 21st recipient from UCLA Athletics all-time.

Sophomore Lexy Denaburg and junior Abby Van Winkle were selected the UCLA Student-Athletes of the Week, presented by Ready, for April 5 – April 11. Denaburg and Van Winkle improved their winning streak to eight consecutive matches while helping UCLA go 4-0 at the Pac-12 North Invitational last week. Their winning streak includes wins over five ranked teams, including No. 2 TCU and No. 6 LSU. The eight-match winning streak is a season-best for the duo. They are 19-2 on the year, all on court one. 
Last week, they went 8-1 in sets played, dropping only one set, 28-26, to the No. 1 pair of Oregon. They posted wins over No. 12 California, Arizona State, Oregon and Washington last week. It's the first-career Student-Athlete of the Week award for both Denaburg and Van Winkle.

UCLA freshmen Sophie Moore (Encinitas, Calif.) and Natalie Myszkowski (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) have been named the Pac-12 Beach Volleyball Pair of the Week as announced by the league office (Mar. 22). The freshman duo (14-0) has the best record of any court-four tandem in the country at 13-0 and have helped the Bruins remain undefeated (15-0). They helped UCLA beat five ranked teams among six total victories last week, including two in the top five. They also clinched the 3-2 victory over No. 4 Florida State on Friday with a come-from-behind win. Dropped the first set, 17-21, before winning the second, 21-18, and the third, 15-12, to lead UCLA to its seventh consecutive win over the Seminoles. The pair also moved up to court three against UAB on Sunday and rallied for another three-set win, 18-21, 21-15, 20-18. Moore and Myszkowki posted a straight-set win over No. 5 LSU on Sunday, as the Bruins beat the Tigers for the fourth consecutive time. The duo improved to 4-0 this year in three-set matches, which includes wins over No. 1 USC, No. 7 GCU, No. 4 Florida State and UAB. This is the first weekly honor for both Moore and Myszkowski.

UCLA sophomore Lexy Denaburg (Merritt Island, Fla.) and junior Abby Van Winkle (San Clemente, Calif.) were named the Pac-12 Beach Volleyball Pair of the Week as announced by the league office (Mar. 8). The duo was paired together for the first time in their careers and, after three practices, went 4-0 this past week without dropping a set on court one. All four victories came against ranked teams. In their first match together, the tandem had the dual-clinching win over No. 1 USC, defeating the Trojans' 2020 Olympian Tina Graudina and Hailey Harward, 21-17, 21-17. The Bruin duo was also named the AVCA/CBVB National Pair of the Week. This is the second weekly honor for Denaburg in her career and the third for Van Winkle.

UCLA sophomore Lexy Denaburg (Merritt Island, Fla.) and junior Abby Van Winkle (San Clemente, Calif.) were named the Pac-12 Beach Volleyball Pair of the Week as announced by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (Mar. 7). Denaburg and Van Winkle, who were paired together for the first time in the 2022 season and in their careers last week, went 4-0 without dropping a set on court one after just three practices together. All four victories were against ranked teams and included a dual-clinching win over No. 1 USC (Mar. 5). The duo defeated the Trojans' 2020 Olympian Tina Graudina and Hailey Harward, 21-17, 21-17, in their very first match together. They also completed the Bruins' 5-0 sweep of No. 14 Long Beach State with a 21-13, 21-18 win over Skyler Germann and Alice Pratesi. The UCLA tandem also added straight-set wins the next day on court one over No. 7 Grand Canyon's Anaya Evans and Jess Vastine (21-15 and 21-16) and over No. 11 Cal Poly's Tia Miric and Ella Connor (21-17 and 21-19). This is the first national weekly award for both Denaburg and Van Winkle.

UCLA sophomore Devon Newberry (Santa Monica, Calif.) and redshirt sophomore Jaden Whitmarsh (San Diego, Calif.) were named the Pac-12 Beach Volleyball Pair of the Week as announced by the league office (Mar. 1). The pair went undefeated on court three to help No. 2 UCLA open the season 5-0 and claim the Queen's Cup at the Heineken Duke Kahanamoku Beach Classic in Honolulu. The Bruin duo also clinched a pair of wins over No. 10 Hawai'i, including the 4-1 win the championship match and was named the Best Pair of the Queen's Cup. Newberry and Whitmarsh are one of five new pairs for the Bruins in 2022 and they posted three wins against Top 10 opponents to start the season with a 4-0 record. This is the first weekly honor for Whitmarsh and the second for Newberry (Apr. 9, 2021 with Lindsey Sparks). 

The Bruins return six of 10 starters from last year's NCAA runner-up squad as UCLA ended the year at No. 2 in the nation with an overall record of 32-5. Four of UCLA's losses were to USC. The other one was a 3-2 setback in the NCAA Championship to No. 5 LMU. The starters include senior Lea Monkhouse, junior Abby Van Winkle, redshirt sophomore Jaden Whitmarsh, and sophomores Lexy Denaburg, Devon Newberry, and Rileigh Powers. The Bruins also return redshirt sophomore Maggie Walters, but will be without the services of junior Lindsey Sparks (injury). 

The Bruins signed six players that are all on the roster in 2022 as true freshmen. That class includes Madeline Bonanni (Manhattan Beach, Calif./Mira Costa HS), Bonnie Davis (Arlington, Texas/Grace Preparatory Academy), Katie Hashman (Austin, Texas/Westlake HS), Sophie Moore (Encinitas, Calif./La Costa Canyon HS), Natalie Myszkowski (Manhattan Beach, Calif./Mira Costa HS), and Jessie Smith (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Aliso Niguel HS). They are joined by redshirt freshmen, Peri Brennan (Laguna Beach, Calif. / Laguna Beach HS), Caitlyn Kyle (Hermosa Beach, Calif./Redondo Union HS), Sophie Swett (San Anselmo, Calif./Branson HS), and Tessa Van Winkle (San Clemente, Calif./San Clemente HS). They combine to make 10 of UCLA's 20 student-athletes on the roster in 2022 listed as either a freshman or a redshirt freshman.

UCLA gained the services of two new players in 2022 through the transfer portal. The duo consists of Hawai'i beach transfer Pani Napoleon and Florida indoor graduate transfer Marlie Monserez. Napoleon was a First-Team All-Big West selection in 2021 and also the Big West Freshman of the Year in 2019. Monserez was a two-time AVCA All-American (indoor) for the Gators, including Second-Team honors in 2021.

For just the second time in program history (and second consecutive year), the UCLA beach volleyball program does not have a single player from the Bruins' indoor volleyball team currently playing on the roster. UCLA does have one player with collegiate indoor experience in graduate transfer Marlie Monserez (Florida).

U.S. Olympian and UCLA Hall of Famer Stein Metzger is in his 10th season at the helm of the UCLA Beach Volleyball program in 2022. He sports an overall record of 226-53 (.810), He recently earned his 200th career victory with a 3-2 win at Mapes Beach over No. 7 GCU (Mar. 6, 2022). His 100th career victory came in a 4-1 win at No. 13 Stanford on April 8, 2018. Metzger was named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year in 2017 and 2018 and was also named the USMC/AVCA National Coach of the Year in both of those seasons. Metzger now has five NCAA Championships to his credit (three as a player in 1993, 1995 and 1996 and two as a coach in 2018 and 2019).

Entering her ninth year with the Bruins and second season as UCLA's Associate Head Coach, Jenny Johnson Jordan is also a U.S. Olympian and a recent UCLA Hall of Fame inductee (Oct. 5, 2018). Like Metzger, Jordan has also won NCAA titles as both a player (1991) and a coach (2018 and 2019). Jordan was also recently inducted into the CBVA Hall of Fame (Nov. 3, 2018) and was named the AVCA National Assistant Beach Coach of the Year on May 9, 2019.

Entering her first season as the Bruins' Volunteer Assistant Coach is Maria Clara Salgado. Salgado, an active player on the AVP, is a highly decorated player on the international scene. While this is her first collegiate post, she comes from a beach volleyball dynasty and was coached by her mother, the legendary former indoor volleyball and beach volleyball player Isabel Salgado, in the early years of her career. Isabel is a two-time Olympian, who played for Brazil on the indoor team in Moscow in 1980 and Los Angeles in 1984. Her brother, Pedro Solberg, also plays professionally and represented Brazil in beach volleyball at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The Salgado's beach volleyball history started 25-plus years ago when Isabel played in the first beach volleyball international tournaments in the early 1990s. Isabel was a star in Brazil in the 1980s in indoor volleyball and was one of the pioneers of beach volleyball in the country, playing with Olympic champion Jackie Silva in the early days of the sport. Salgado, who started playing professionally in Rio de Janeiro at the age of 17, teamed with Shaylyn Bede to win the inaugural U-21 world title in 2001 at Le Lavandou, France. She won bronze at the 2002 U-21 World Championship with Talita Antunes in Catania, Italy, and would later win bronze with her sister, Carolina Salgado, at the 2003 U-21 World Championship in Saint Quay Portrieux, France. Late in her career, Isabel played with her daughters in the Brazilian Tour. When Isabel retired, the Salgado sisters joined forces and had her as their coach for years. The Salgado sisters stayed together from 2003 to 2015. Salgado had six podiums finishes in 2013, leading to her best FIVB World Ranking of second. In 2016, Salgado took a break to have her first son, Joaquim, with her husband and UCLA alum, Jeremy Casebeer. Casebeer served as the Bruins' volunteer assistant coach during the 2020 season. Salgado was named the AVP Newcomer of the Year in 2017 and also was named the FIVB Best Server in 2008 and 2009. She has had 28 semifinal appearances in the FIVB in her career.

In 2016, beach volleyball was added as the 23rd Pac-12-sponsored sport beginning in the 2015-16 academic year. Now with nine member institutions (Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Utah and Washington) currently fielding beach volleyball teams, the Conference of Champions was the first major conference to sponsor beach volleyball as an official sport. As part of the addition, the Pac-12 will also sponsor a Beach Volleyball Championship for the sixth straight season (should be seventh but the 2020 Championship was canceled due to COVID-19). This year, Arizona will serve as the host April 28-30 at Bear Down Beach.

For the sixth straight season The NCAA® National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship will be held May 6-8 at the Gulf Shores Public Beach and will be hosted by the city of Gulf Shores, Alabama and Orange Beach Sports Commission. The host institution for the beach volleyball championship will be the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Beach volleyball is the fastest-growing NCAA sport with 84 sponsoring schools at the Division I level, which is up from 69 in 2018, 65 in 2017 and 47 in 2016. The addition of the beach volleyball championship in 2016 became the 45th NCAA championship administered for women and the 90th NCAA championship overall.

The Division I Council approved in December that the format of an expanded 16-team bracket be adopted for the 2022 National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship. Under the format, all 16 teams would travel to the finals site in Gulf Shores, Ala., and compete in the first round in a single-elimination format on May 4. The eight teams that advance would compete in a double-elimination format starting May 6.

Tickets to the 2022 NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship are on sale now exclusively here.

Three UCLA Bruins were named to the 2021 U.S. Beach Collegiate National Team. The 13 athletes represent a total of eight universities from around the country. Graduate Savvy Simo joined junior Abby Van Winkle and sophomore Lexy Denaburg on the team. It was the second straight year that Van Winkle was on the squad. Players were nominated to the team by their coaches and selected based on their collegiate rankings.

Redshirt freshmen Peri Brennan, Sophie Swett, and Tessa Van Winkle joined junior Abby Van Winkle on the Pac-12 Spring Academic Honor Roll. It was the second straight year that Abby Van Winkle has earned Pac-12 All-Academic acclaim. Any student-athlete on his or her respective team roster with a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or above, and who has served at least one year in residence at the institution, is eligible for recognition.

The UCLA Bruins went 32-5 a year ago and reached the NCAA Championship game for the third straight year after winning back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019. UCLA defeated USC twice in the same day (May 1) on its home sand to capture the second Pac-12 Championship in program history in 2021. The Bruins had three players earn AVCA All-American acclaim including First-Team selections Savvy Simo and Lexy Denaburg and Second-Team pick Lea Monkhouse.

UCLA held steady at No. 3 in last week's AVCA Collegiate Beach Volleyball Poll (Week 9 - Apr. 26).


Rank School (First-Place Votes) Points Record Previous Rank
1 USC (13) 260 28-1 1
2 TCU 247 36-2 2
3 UCLA 234 28-5 3
4 Florida State 211 25-8 5
5 Loyola Marymount 208 26-7 4
6 LSU 202 27-8 6
7 Grand Canyon 185 26-6 7
8 Stanford 163 23-9 8
9 Hawai'i 150 22-14 9
10 Florida Atlantic 140 21-8 10
11 Long Beach State 125 19-12 12
12 California 122 23-11 11
13 Florida International 100 18-9 14
14 Cal Poly 89 19-16 13
15 Georgia State 88 22-11 15
16 Pepperdine 64 19-10 16
17 Arizona 50 18-10 17
18 Stetson 43 23-16 18
19 South Carolina 31 20-10 19
20 Florida Gulf Coast 12 29-9 20

Dropped Out: None
Others receiving votes: Tulane (4).