Beach Defeats South Carolina; Advances to Saturday

by Grant Kauvar
Beach Volleyball NCAA Championship +0
Beach Defeats South Carolina; Advances to Saturday

GULF SHORES, Ala. – In a NCAA Championship elimination game, the No. 7-seed LSU beach volleyball team defeated No. 6 South Carolina, 3-1, to advance to Saturday play.

LSU advances to the next round through the loser’s bracket of the double-elimination tournament and will take on No. 1 UCLA at 2 p.m. CT on ESPN2 and the WatchESPN app.

“This morning (against Pepperdine), we were feeling out what they were going to do and respond to it,” said coach Russell Brock. “This afternoon, we decided that we were just going to do what we do. We imposed our game on them (South Carolina) and made them respond to us.”

 LSU improved to 27-13 on the season and kicked the match off with a big win on Court 1. Claire Coppola and Kristen Nuss took the match in straight sets, 21-14 and 21-18, to get LSU on the board. But South Carolina would answer back as Haleigh Nelson and Mandi Orellana dropped Court 2 in straight sets, 21-19 and 21-18, as the Gamecocks evened the match, 1-1.

On Court 5, Riley Young and Maddie Ligon battled for a first set 27-25 victory before taking the second set, 21-15, to give LSU the 2-1 lead.

Courts 3 and 4 both went to deciding sets. Olivia Powers and Hunter Domanski fell in the first set on Court 3, 21-17, before bouncing back and winning in the second, 21-18. Emmy Allen and Megan Davenport took the first 21-17 on Court 4, but fell in the second set, 15-21. Allen and Davenport trailed in the third set, 14-13, when Powers and Domanski clinched the match with a 15-9 victory on Court 3 for the third team point.

“It feels really good to get a win, bouncing back after the first game,” said Powers.

For the second year in a row, the Tigers have advanced to Saturday at the NCAA Championship. LSU will look to make school history by winning two matches at the NCAA Championship and set a new all-time record in wins.

“We will have some time to watch some game film and prepare our pairs for tomorrow,” said Brock. “Getting to day two puts you in a better position to play as good as you can possibly play.”

“We’re not done yet,” added Nuss. “We made it to tomorrow, but that’s not our final goal. We came here to win, and we still have work to do.”

#7 LSU def. #6 South Carolina, 3-1

  1. Kristen Nuss/Claire Coppola (LSU) def. Cadie Bates/Katie Smith (SC) 21-14, 21-18
  2. Shannon Williams/Ali Denney (SC) def. Haleigh Nelson/Mandi Orellana (LSU) 21-19, 21-18
  3. Olivia Powers/Hunter Domanski (LSU) def. Julia Mannisto/Carly Schnieder (SC) 17-21, 21-18, 15-9
  4. Megan Davenport/Emmy Allen (LSU) vs. Leah Perri/Macie Tendrich (SC) 21-17, 15-21, 13-14, unfinished
  5. Riley Young/Maddie Ligon (LSU) def. Lydia Dimke/Franky Harrison (SC) 27-25, 21-15