No. 3 Beach Begins 2020 Season in Hawaii

by Grant Kauvar | Communications Graduate Assistant
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No. 3 Beach Begins 2020 Season in Hawaii

HONOLULU – The No. 3 LSU Beach Volleyball team started its 2020 season Saturday on Queens Beach at the Duke Kahanamoku Beach Classic against three top-20 teams.

LSU opened the day with 1 5-0 win against No. 19 Stanford, before dropping its next two matches to No. 1 UCLA and No. 5 Hawaii.

“It’s an opportunity to play in a hostile environment, but an educated environment,” said coach Russell Brock. “We wanted to see what we could do in, basically, the most challenging situation we could be in.

“That gives us a realistic perspective of where we are and what we need to work on.”

LSU is still in contention in the tournament and will begin Sunday in a rematch against Hawaii at 2:30 p.m. CT. UCLA and Stanford will square off in the other semi-final at 4 p.m.

The third place match will be at 5:30 p.m., followed by the Championship at 7 p.m.

“We get Hawaii first and we’ve got to defeat them and then, if all goes well, we’ll play UCLA in the final,” said Brock. “It’s not time to pout or shut it down. 

“It’s time to understand – we’ve got to come with a different intensity, a different fire and a different level of execution if we want to beat the teams we say we want to beat to do what we want to do.”

No. 3 LSU vs. No. 19 Stanford

The Tigers started its season in sweeping fashion over No. 19 Stanford. 

Allison Coens and Hunter Domanski, paired to start the season in the same place they played last year on Court 5, took the first court for the Tigers in straight sets, 21-17 and 21-14. Kelli Agnew and Taryn Kloth, who also played together at time last season, picked up a straight-set win on Court 4, 21-15 and 21-16.

Claire Coppola and Kristen Nuss, LSU’s all-time winningest pair, picked up their 92nd career victory together. After battling to a 24-22 first set win, the LSU duo fell in a close second set, 19-21. Coppola and Nuss imposed their will in the third set, 15-8, clinching the match for LSU.

On Court 3, Toni Rodriguez and Ashlyn Rasnick-Pope, another familiar pair from 2019, fell in a hard fought first set, 23-21. They went off in the second set to the tune of 21-9 and carried their momentum into the third set, 15-12.

Jess Schaben, a graduate transfer from Iowa State, and freshman Sydney Moore both picked up their first set win at LSU in the first set, 21-16. They dropped the second set, 21-14, but put that behind them, winning the third set, 15-12, to earn their first victory in purple and gold and give LSU a clean sweep to start the season.

No. 3 LSU vs. No. 1 UCLA

Agnew and Kloth started the Tigers off strong to begin LSU’s match against the two-time defending national champions. LSU’s pair on Court 4 earned a sweep, 21-10 and 21-11.

On all the other courts, LSU struggled to gain momentum. Coppola and Nuss fell in straight sets on Court 1, 21-17 and 21-14. 

After dropping the first set 21-10, Coens and Domanski battled back in the second set, 21-16, to force a third set. They dropped the final set, 15-5, on Court 5.

Schaben and Moore put up a gritty fight in the first set on Court 2, but ultimately fell, 31-29, before dropping the second set, 21-13, as UCLA clinched the match.

On Court 3, Rasnick-Pope won the second set, 21-17, to force a third set after dropping to opener, 21-19. In the deciding set, LSU No. 3 pair fell, 21-13.

No. 3 LSU at No. 5 Hawaii

Agnew and Kloth continued their tear on Court 4 in the final match of the day, taking it in two sets, 21-12 and 21-13, to give them their third sweep of the day.

Schaben and Moore dropped their match on Court 2, 21-16 and 21-15. Coppola and Nuss fell in straight sets too, 22-20 and 21-12.

Coens and Domanski evened the match up for the Tigers, winning in two sets on Court 5, 21018 and 21-17.

It all came down to Court 3 where Rasnick-Pope paired up with Kahlee York. The LSU duo dropped the first set, 21-16, before rebounding in the second set, 21-12. In the matche’s deciding set, Rasnick-Pope and York dropped a hard fought battle, 15-13.

#3 LSU 5, #19 Stanford 0
1. Claire Coppola/Kristen Nuss (LSU) def. Sunny Villapando/Charlie Ekstrom (STAN) 24-22, 19-21, 15-8
2. Jess Schaben/Sydney Moore (LSU) def. Tori Ashkinos/Maddie Kriz (STAN) 21-16, 14-21, 15-12
3. Toni Rodriguez/Ashlyn Rasnick-Pope (LSU) def. Blake Sharp/Amelia Smith (STAN) 21-23, 21-9, 15-12
4. Kelli Agnew/Taryn Kloth (LSU) def. Maddie Dailey/Shannon Richardson (STAN) 21-15, 21-16
5. Allison Coens/Hunter Domanski (LSU) def. Jordan McKinney/Natalie Berty (STAN) 21-17, 21-14

Match Notes:
LSU 1-0; National ranking #3
Stanford 0-1; National ranking #19
Order of finish: Doubles (5,4,1,3,2);
Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Beach Classic Match #2

#5 UCLA 4, #3 LSU 1
1. Savvy Simo/Abby Van Winkle (UCLA) def. Claire Coppola/Kristen Nuss (LSU) 21-17, 21-14
2. Lindsey Sparks/Lexi Denaburg (UCLA) def. Jess Schaben/Sydney Moore (LSU) 31-29, 21-13
3. Lily Justine/Lea Monkhouse (UCLA) def. Ashlyn Rasnick-Pope/Toni Rodriguez (LSU) 21-19, 17-21, 15-8
4. Kelli Agnew/Taryn Kloth (LSU) def. Devon Newberry/Megan Muret (UCLA) 21-10, 21-11
5. Rileigh Powers/Madi Yeomans (UCLA) def. Allison Coens/Hunter Domanski (LSU) 21-10, 16-21, 15-5

Match Notes:
UCLA 3-0; National ranking #1
LSU 1-1; National ranking #3
Order of finish: Doubles (4,1,5,2,3);
Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Beach Classic Match #4

#5 Hawai’i 3, #3 LSU 2
1. Morgan Martin/Pani Napoleon (UH) def. Kristen Nuss/Claire Coppola (LSU) 22-20, 21-12
2. Maia Hannemann/Julia Scoles (UH) def. Jess Schaben/Sydney Moore (LSU) 21-16, 21-15
3. Brooke Van Sickle/Amy Ozee (UH) def. Kahlee York/Ashlyn Rasnick-Pope (LSU) 16-21, 21-12, 15-13
4. Kelli Agnew/Taryn Kloth (LSU) def. Hanna Hellvig/Ilihia Huddleston (UH) 21-13, 21-12
5. Allison Coens/Hunter Domanski (LSU) def. Kylin Loker/Norene Iosia (UH) 21-18, 21-17

Match Notes:
LSU 1-2; National ranking #3
Hawai’i 2-1; National ranking #5
Order of finish: Doubles (4,2,1,5,3);
Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Beach Classic Match #6