Sarah Sponcil Wins First AVP Pro Series Title
HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. – Two-time UCLA Beach Volleyball All-American Sarah Sponcil (Phoenix, Ariz./Veritas Preparatory Academy) and her partner Terese Cannon earned their first-career AVP titles as champions of the AVP Pro Series Hermosa Beach Open on Sunday, July 10.
The top-seeded tandem went 5-0 on the weekend, dropping just two sets. The pair defeated the second-seeded duo of Kelly Cheng and Betsi Flint, 21-12, 21-15, in the finals.
Sponcil and Cannon opened the weekend with a 21-12, 21-14 win over 16th-seeded Heather Friesen and Agnieszka Pregowska. The pair then outlasted eighth-seeded Jessica Gaffney and Molly Turner in the second round to advance with a 21-19, 21-23, 15-9 win. Then they knocked off a pair of fifth-seeded Bruins in Zana Muno and Lauren Fendrick in straight sets, 21-12, 21-18, to advance to the semifinals. There they won another tightly-contested match, defeating third-seeded Sara Hughes and Kelley Kolinske, 24-22, 11-21, 17-15, to move into the finals.
FIRST TIME AVP CHAMPIONS: Sarah Sponcil and Terese Cannon! 🏆🏆🏆
— AVP (@avpbeach) July 10, 2022
Sponcil won back-to-back NCAA Championships in 2018 and 2019 with the Bruins. She partnered with Lily Justine and the duo posted both of the dual clinching wins on NCAA Championship Sunday (May 6, 2018).
Last year Sponcil became the 20th all-time beach volleyball Olympian that UCLA has produced (2020 Tokyo Olympic Games). The 20 total Olympians to come out of UCLA (male and female) are the most of any school (Stanford is second with seven) and Sponcil was the 11th Bruin woman to qualify for the Olympics, which also leads the nation (Stanford is second with seven).
UCLA's rich Olympic tradition began the first year beach volleyball was introduced in the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996. That year a record seven Bruins qualified for the Olympic Games, which included Linda (Robertson) Hanley, Carl Henkel, Karch Kiraly (gold medalist), Bjorn Massaide, Holly McPeak, Sinjin Smith, and Kent Steffes (gold medalist). UCLA has had an Olympian in beach volleyball in six of the seven Olympic Games (no Bruin qualified for London in 2012). Both of UCLA's current coaches are also Olympians (Stein Metzger in Athens in 2004, and Jenny Johnson Jordan in Sydney in 2000).
One of the best defenders on the beach, Sponcil competes at a high level with her work ethic, athleticism and creative shot-making abilities as demonstrated here:
If you want to win it all, you've got to empty the tank.
— AVP (@avpbeach) July 11, 2022