LSU Athletics Creative Services

Beach Volleyball Becomes 6th Program to Defeat USC

Grant Kauvar
Grant Kauvar
Communications Student Assistant

LOS ANGELES – On a cold and rainy day at the Manhattan Beach Pier, the LSU Beach Volleyball team became the sixth beach program to ever beat USC, the three-time defending national champions, 4-1, after falling by the same score to UCLA in the morning.

In the first match of the day, LSU fell to UCLA, 4-1. The Court 4 pair of Olivia Powers and Gina Tillis dropped their match in consecutive sets, 21-18 and 21-14. That was followed by Haleigh Nelson and Hunter Domanski also falling in consecutive sets, 21-10 and 21-12.

The Tigers won their first and only match in back-to-back sets on Court 3. The LSU duo of Emmy Allen and Maddie Ligon won by the score of 21-15 in set one and two.

After beginning the season 8-0, the Court 1 pair of Claire Coppola and Kristen Nuss lost for the first time this season. In set one, the duo fell 21-10. They made a strong effort in the second set, but Coppola and Nuss dropped that as well, by a score of 21-17.

The Court 5 pair of Riley Young and Megan Davenport dropped their first set 21-18. They showed grit to comeback in the second set and win 21-19. In set three, the LSU pair fell 15-12.

"This morning we played a lot better than we have at any point in the season thus far," said head coach Russell Brock. "We just didn't play quite well enough to pull out a win against an incredibly talented UCLA team. They're really really good and we just made too many mistakes to overcome."

Going into its match with USC, the Tigers were looking to become just the sixth program ever to beat the Trojans in beach volleyball.

Nelson and Domanski started strong on Court two with a close, 23-21, win in the opening set. In set two, the LSU duo battled and ultimately clinched the court for LSU with a 21-19 victory.

Coppola and Nuss fell on Court 1. After trailing 9-12 in the first set, the pair battled back to force extra points. Coppola and Nuss ultimately fell in set one, 25-23. In set two, the duo fell 21-17, evening the match at one court apiece.

On Court 4, Powers and Tillis had to battle back after dropping the first set, 21-19. The duo came roaring back in set two and cruised to a 21-10 victory to force a third set. Powers and Tillis were trailing 10-7 in the third set, but they kept battling and tied the set at 13. The Tiger pair scored the final two points to give LSU an edge.

Allen and Ligon started off strong with a 21-14 set one victory. The Court 3 pair fell in set two, 21-16. Trailing 13-9 in the deciding set, Allen and Ligon clawed back, tying it at 13. Ultimatey, the duo found a win 18-16, clinching the victory for LSU.

Young and Davenport were still going on Court 5. The pair won 21-19 in a hard fought set before falling 21-17 in set two. In the third set, Young and Davenport scored the final four points, after being tied at 11, to win the match and give LSU the 4-1 victory over the second ranked USC squad.

LSU becomes just the sixth program to ever beat the USC beach volleyball team.

"I'm really proud of the team for for getting a win against a great program like USC, but we know that we're not done," explained Brock. "We have work to do and we have higher goals and expectations. Tomorrow is a new challenge and one that we are excited to face."

LSU will square up with Pepperdine (6-2) at 12 p.m. Sunday, before wrapping the weekend up against Hawaii (3-1), who eliminated the Tigers in the NCAA Championships last season, at 2 p.m.

#4 UCLA (8-3) def. #9 LSU Tigers (5-4), 4-1
1. Megan McNamara/Nicole McNamara (UCLA) def. Claire Coppola/Kristen Nuss (LSU) 21-10, 21-17
2. Sarah Sponcil/Lily Justine (UCLA) def. Haleigh Nelson/Hunter Domanski (LSU) 21-10, 21-12
3. Emmy Allen/Maddie Ligon (LSU) def. Savvy Simo/Zana Muno (UCLA) 21-15, 21-15
4. Elise Zappia/Madi Yeomans (UCLA) def. Olivia Powers/Gina Tillis (LSU) 21-18, 21-14
5. Izzy Carey/Megan Muret (UCLA) def. Riley Young/Megan Davenport (LSU) 21-18, 19-21, 15-12
Ext. Mac May/Hannah Phair (UCLA) def. Lilly Kessler/Emily Hardesty (LSU) 25-22, 21-16

#9 LSU Tigers (6-4) def. #2 USC (6-4), 4-1
1. Abril Bustamante/Tina Graudina (USC) def. Claire Coppola/Kristen Nuss (LSU) 25-23, 21-17
2. Haleigh Nelson/Hunter Domanski (LSU) def. Terese Cannon/Sammy Slater (USC) 23-21, 21-19
3. Emmy Allen/Maddie Ligon (LSU) def. Joy Dennis/Haley Hallgren (USC) 21-14, 16-21, 18-16
4. Olivia Powers/Gina Tillis (LSU) def. Jenna Belton/Jo Kremer (USC) 19-21, 21-10, 15-13
5. Riley Young/Megan Davenport (LSU) def. Alexandra Poletto/Maja Kaiser (USC) 21-19, 17-21, 15-11