LSU Wins Duke Kahanamoku Classic Over No. 1 UCLA

by Grant Kauvar | Communications Graduate Assistant
+0
LSU Wins Duke Kahanamoku Classic Over No. 1 UCLA

HONOLULU – No 3 LSU avenged Saturday losses to both No. 5 Hawaii and No. 1 UCLA to open the 2020 season with a victory in the Duke Kahanamoku Beach Classic on Queen’s Beach.

LSU defeated Hawaii in Sunday’s first semifinal, 4-1, and took down UCLA in the Championship to win the classic, 3-2.

“When it doesn’t seem likely,” said head coach Russell Brock. “Our job is to do whatever we can, let it fall where it may and trust that the process is going to end up where it needs to end up.”

It was the first time in program history that the Tigers were able to pick up a win over the Bruins. They did so in the Championship Match at the Duke Kahanamoku Beach Classic, earning hardware to bring back to Baton Rouge.

“We played our best in the toughest conditions against the toughest opponents,” Brock said. “Our backs were against the wall today, playing Hawaii out of the box and the obviously playing against UCLA.

“They’re the two-time defending national champs and nobody’s beat them in a long time.”

LSU will host UCLA next Saturday at LSU Beach Volleyball Stadium when it opens its home slate at the Tiger Beach Challenge. The Tigers will host four other matches throughout the weekend as well.

No. 3 LSU 4, No. 5 Hawaii 1

In the first semifinal of the Duke Kahanamoku Beach Classic, LSU avenged its Saturday loss to Hawaii with a strong 4-1 showing.

Kelli Agnew and Taryn Kloth continued their dominance on Court 4 with their fourth straight-set win of the weekend in as many matches. They gave LSU the first court of the match, 21-8 and 21-13.

Claire Coppola and Kristen Nuss earned their 93rd career victory together in Court 1 with a straight set win, 21-17 and 21-19.

On Saturday, LSU lost in three sets on Court 3 when the match was tied at 2-2. On Sunday, with the Tigers up 2-0, Ashlyn Rasnick-Pope and Toni Rodriguez used Court 3 to clinch a spot in the championship for LSU.

Rasnick-Pope and Rodriguez took the first set on Court 3, 21-16, before falling in set two, 21-13. They used a string of points in the third set to pull away, 15-11, and clinch it for the Tigers.

Allison Coens and Hunter Domanski battled hard on Court 5. They took the second set, 21-19 after losing by seven points in the first set. Hawaii went on to win on Court 5 on the third set, 15-11.

Sydney Moore and Jess Schaben scrapped their way to a Court 2. After they dropped the first set, 21-16, the LSU duo went on two win the next two sets, 22-20 and 15-11.

UCLA defeated Stanford in the other semifinal, setting up a Tigers versus Bruins championship match.

No. 3 LSU 3, No. 1 UCLA 2

Shaben and Moore fell on Court 2, 21-19, and Coens and Domanski were unable to get the victory on Court 5, 21-17 and 21-19. LSU was down 2-0 and needed a comeback.

“Being down 0-2 in the final and knowing that we’ve got to get to a third, or win a third when they get it to a third,” said Brock. “You couldn’t ask for a better scenario to see how much we’ve got.”

Agnew and Kloth got the Tigers on the board and continued to roll on Court 4. The LSU duo did not drop a single set all weekend and took down UCLA’s 4s, 21-13 and 24-22.

“On paper it’s an absolutely perfect arrangement,” said Brock of Agnew and Kloth. “You have a huge, athletic blocker (Kloth), you have a really fast defender (Agnew) and you make life hard on the other team and then both have the ability to side-out at super high rates.”

After dropping the first set, 21-16, Coppola and Nuss came back with a vengeance. In the second set LSU’s top pair won a tight one, 24-22, to force a third. There Coppola and Nuss equaled the match for the Tigers with a 15-11 win, setting up a deciding match over on Court 3.

Rasnick-Pope and Rodriguez came out strong in the first set, 23-21, but stumbled in the second set, 21-18. 

As it became evident that the match would come down to Court 3, the whole beach surrounded to court, setting up an electric atmosphere. As Coppola and Nuss won on Court 1, Rasnick-Pope and Rodriguez were down on Court 3, 5-8.

Down 11-8, LSU Court 3 pair began their comeback and on a miss-hit from UCLA, won the set, 15-13, to give LSU the win over the two-time defending national champions and to win the Duke Kahanamoku Beach Classic.

#3 LSU 4, #5 Hawai’i 1
1. Kristen Nuss/Claire Coppola (LSU) def. Pani Napoleon/Morgan Martin (UH) 21-17, 21-19
2. Jess Schaben/Sydney Moore (LSU) def. Julia Scoles/Maia Hannemann (UH) 16-21, 22-20, 15-11
3. Ashlyn Rasnick-Pope/Toni Rodriguez (LSU) def. Brooke Van Sickle/Amy Ozee (UH) 21-16, 13-21, 15-11
4. Taryn Kloth/Kelli Agnew (LSU) def. Kylin Loker/Norene Iosia (UH) 21-8, 21-13
5. Hanna Hellvig/Ilihia Huddleston (UH) def. Allison Coens/Hunter Domanski (LSU) 21-14, 19-21, 15-11

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

#3 LSU 3, #1 UCLA 2
1. Kristen Nuss/Claire Coppola (LSU) def. Abby Van Winkle/Savvy Simo (UCLA) 16-21, 24-22, 15-11
2. Lindsey Sparks/Lexi Denaburg (UCLA) def. Jess Schaben/Sydney Moore (LSU) 21-19, 21-14
3. Ashlyn Rasnick-Pope/Toni Rodriguez (LSU) def. Lily Justine/Lea Monkhouse (UCLA) 23-21, 18-21, 15-13
4. Kelli Agnew/Taryn Kloth (LSU) def. Rileigh Powers/Madi Yeomans (UCLA) 21-13, 24-22
5. Megan Muret/Devon Newberry (UCLA) def. Allison Coens/Hunter Domanski (LSU) 21-17, 21-19

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