Volleyball

USC beach volleyball continues spectacular season by winning Pac-12 Championship

Trojans beat the defending Pac-12 champions UCLA twice in two days.

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The USC beach volleyball team came into the Pac-12 Tournament with a 28-1 record and as both the No. 1 seed and the No. 1 team in the country. They were the clear favorites coming in and did not disappoint.

The Trojans picked up four wins to extend their winning streak to 31 and grabbed a Pac-12 Championship to go with it.

The Trojans began the tournament on Wednesday with a match against No. 8 seed Oregon. USC did what they’ve done all season long and dominated.

The first pair to secure a point was graduate Julia Scoles and sophomore Delaynie Maple on court three with a quick 21-13, 21-8 victory.

The points didn’t stop there as senior Tina Graudina and graduate Hailey Harward took care of business 21-16, 21-11 on court one. The clinching point for the Trojans came on court five as senior Mollie Ebertin and graduate Sunny Villapando won 21-8, 21-15 to give USC a 3-0 victory.

Play was suspended on both courts three and four after the dual had been decided but USC had taken the first set and was ahead in the second set on both courts.

On Thursday it was more of the same from the Trojans: another dominant performance and another 3-0 win against No. 5 seed Arizona.

Junior twin sisters Audrey and Nicole Nourse celebrated their 21st birthday and struck blood first in the dual with an impressive 21-11, 21-14 win on court four.

The Trojans kept rolling with Scoles and Maple cruising to a 21-9, 21-14 win at the No. 3 position.

USC earned the sweep at the No. 2 position with graduate Sammy Slater and sophomore Megan Kraft continuing their perfect season with a 21-14, 21-14 victory.

The second match of the day for USC came against the No. 2 seed, UCLA, for a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Match.

The Bruins came out of the gate swinging and won the first point over on court five. Ebertin and Villapando went down to freshmen Sophie Moore and Natalie Myszkowski  21-11, 21-14. UCLA has beaten USC on court five in all four of their matches this season.

The Trojans weren’t behind for too long as Scoles and Maple evened the dual and avenged their only loss on the season with a 21-16, 22-20 win on court three.

Soon after, Graudina and Harward won a hard-fought match 21-17, 23-21.

All eyes were on courts two and four with the dual in the balance.

The Trojans ended up getting the winning point on court four as the Nourse twins won 21-18, 21-16 to send the Trojans to the Pac-12 Championship.

On Friday, the championship was set as a rematch with defending national champions USC facing off against defending Pac-12 champions UCLA.

The championship match was everything you could hope for. It was as close as could be, and both teams battled all day long.

Play began with pairs two and four. Both matches were even, but USC dug deep and found a way to win both matches.

The Nourse twins played incredible defense which helped them create breaks and win the match 21-19, 21-17.

Slater struggled early in the match, but her and Kraft fought back to protect their perfect record and win 23-21, 21-18.

The one, three and five pairs began their matches with USC needing just one win to secure the championship.

USC took the first set at positions three and five but UCLA won at one.

The Trojans had match points on both courts three and five, but it was Scoles and Maple at three who delivered the final blow winning 21-15, 21-17.

USC will look to continue their momentum into Gulf Shores, Alabama for the NCAA National Championships next week.