NCAA volleyball: LSU rallies vs. UCLA in Hawai’i beach final, GCU men knock off Pepperdine

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LSU beach canceled 3/26/2020-2/24/2020-LSU beach volleyball
LSU celebrates its big victory in Hawai'i to open the 2020 NCAA beach season/Grant Kauvar photo

What a difference a day made on the beach in Honolulu.

When the sand cleared on Sunday, it was LSU winning the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Beach Classic at Queen’s Beach as the No. 3 Tigers knocked off No. 1 UCLA 3-2.

The day before, previously unbeaten UCLA beat LSU 4-1. For that matter, LSU also lost to Hawai’i on Saturday and then beat the SandBows in Sunday’s semifinals. 

“We played our best in the toughest conditions against the toughest opponents,” said LSU coach Russell Brock, whose program was 0-9 all time against UCLA. “Our backs were against the wall today, playing Hawai’i out of the box and obviously playing against UCLA.

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

And LSU gets another chance this week because the Bruins visit Baton Rouge on Saturday.

More follows on that tournament and Sunday’s men’s results, including No. 13 Grand Canyon’s MPSF victory over No. 6 Pepperdine.

There is a Conference Carolinas match Monday when King goes to Limestone, while Tuesday’s slate shows an EIVA match when Penn State goes to Saint Francis, and UC Irvine of the Big West goes to the MPSF’s Concordia.

To watch any match that is being streamed or broadcast, go to the VolleyballMag.com TV listings.

LSU’s Claire Coppola gets in front of Kristin Nuss to make the the pass against UCLA Sunday/Jay Metzger photo

LSU wins in Hawai’i: LSU (3-2) opened Sunday with a 4-1 victory over No. 5 Hawai’i in one semifinal, while UCLA was sweeping No. 19 Stanford in the other.

In the final, UCLA (5-1) took a 2-0 lead as UCLA’s  Lindsey Sparks and Lexi Denaburg beat Jess Schaben and Sydney Moore at No. 2 21-19, 21-14, and Megan Muret and Devon Newberry beat Allison Coens and Hunter Domanski on No. 5 21-17, 21-19.

LSU tied it with wins at No. 4, when Kelli Agnew and Taryn Kloth beat Rileigh Powers and Madi Yeomans 21-13, 24-22, and Kristen Nuss and Claire Coppola won at No. 1, beating Abby Van Winkle and Savvy Simo 16-21, 24-22, 15-11.

LSU took the match in an exciting finish at No. 3 when Ashlyn Rasnick and Toni Rodriguez beat Lily Justine and Lea Monkhouse 21-19, 24-22.

It should make for an interesting time next Saturday in Baton Rouge. First, however, UCLA plays Texas A&M Corpus Christi at LSU and then Tulane before taking on the Tigers. LSU plays Houston Baptist on Saturday morning.

Of note from the all-tournament team, the best blocker was LSU’s Taryn Kloth, the 6-foot-4 transfer from Creighton who is in just her second season on the beach, and the best defender was Maia Hannemann, the Hawai’i freshman who is the daughter of former Hawai’i player Al-B Hannemann, the former pro beach player and director of the NVL.

Hanna Helvig of Hawai’i gets both hands on the attempt of Stanford’s Blake Sharp/Jay Metzger photo
No. 3 LSU 4, No. 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
No. 3 LSU 3, No. 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
No. 1 UCLA def. No. 19 Stanford, 5-0
1. Savvy Simo/Abby Van Winkle (UCLA) def. Sunny Villapando/Charlie Ekstrom (STAN) 22-20, 12-21, 15-13
2. Lexy Denaburg/Lindsey Sparks (UCLA) def. Tori Ashkinos/Maddie Kriz (STAN) 22-20, 21-14
3. Lily Justine/Lea Monkhouse (UCLA) def. Amelia Smith/Maddie Dailey (STAN) 21-15, 21-17
4. Rileigh Powers/Madi Yeomans (UCLA) def. Blake Sharp/Shannon Richardson (STAN) 21-17, 21-9
5. Megan Muret/Devon Newberry (UCLA) def. Natalie Berty/Chelsea Mohl (STAN) 21-11, 21-9
No. 5 Hawai’i 5, No. 19 Stanford 0
1: Napoleon/Martin (UH) def. Sunny Villapando/Charlie Ekstrom (STAN) 21-16, 21-19
2: Hannemann/Scoles (UH) def. Maddie Kriz/Tori Ashkinos (STAN) 23-25, 21-10, 15-12
3: Van Sickle/Amy Ozee (UH) def. Maddie Dailey/Amelia Smith (STAN) 21-18, 21-19
4: Hellvig/Huddleston (UH) def. Blake Sharp/Shannon Richardson (STAN) 21-14, 21-14
5: Kekauoha/Iosia (UH) def. Berty/Chelsea Mohl (STAN) 21-17, 24-22

NCAA men: Grand Canyon beat a top-10 team for the third time this season as the Lopes improved to 12-3 overall, 4-1 in the MPSF, with a 17-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-27 victory over visiting Pepperdine (6-5, 3-2).

Camden Gianni led with 19 kills and Christian Janke had 16 as GCU stayed a game back of first-place No. 2 BYU in the MPSF. Gianni hit .350 and had an assist, two of his team’s three aces, a solo block and three digs. Janke hit .400 and had two assists, 10 digs and two blocks, one solo. GCU hit .269 and had 16 serving errors, six by Janke. Heath Hughes had a kill, 44 assists, a block and three digs. 

“I like the confidence that we’re starting to build,” GCU coach Matt Werle said. “It’s interesting that things that worked really well for us against UCLA (in another upset victory Friday), we didn’t use those things tonight to beat Pepperdine. 

Christian from the service line wasn’t the same as he was the other night, which is fine. Other guys stepped up …

“I’m happy that we made some changes. In the first set, we did not execute the scouting report at all, and it showed. We got off to a slow start against UCLA, got off to another slow start tonight and just started to pick it up. I’m super proud of them.”

Pepperdine hit .212 and had three aces and 13 errors. Jacob Steele led with 12 kills, an ace, six digs and two blocks, one solo. Noah Dyer had 11 kills, hit .345, and had a block and five digs. JT Ardell had nine blocks, hit .375, and had six blocks, two solo … 

There were two other men’s matches Sunday as independent Daemen swept Medaille and Elmira to improve to 10-5 in its first year. Daemen has won seven matches in a row and 10 of 12. Zach Yerington had 11 kills against Medaille, while another Zach, Zach Schneider, had 10 kills against Elmira.

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