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USC outlasts UCLA to win beach volleyball crown

GULF SHORES, Ala. — Sammy Slater dropped in a service ace to clinch the deciding match for USC and seal its 3-1 win over UCLA in the beach volleyball duals national championship on Sunday.

USC (30-4) won its third NCAA beach volleyball title in its fourth championship appearance. The Trojans lost back-to-back duals against UCLA (32-5) in the Pac-12 Tournament _ the first of which snapped USC’s 12-match win streak _ on May 1.

The Bruins had won the previous two national titles in 2018 and 2019.

Slater, an AVCA all-America selection, and Julia Scoles _ a graduate transfer from Hawaii _ clinched the title with a 26-24, 21-15 win over UCLA’s Lea Monkhouse and Devon Newberry which culminated with Slater’s ace.

Hailey Harward and Haley Hallgren handed UCLA’s duo of Abby Van Winkle and Lindsey Sparks its first loss (21-14, 21-17) to take a 1-0 lead. The Bruin pair had been 6-0 on the year and 10-0 all-time.

UCLA’s Rileigh Powers and Jaden Whitmarsh won in two sets over Audrey and Nicole Nourse on court five 21-13, 26-24, their third-straight win over the Trojan twins, to tie it at 1-all before USC took the lead for good when Tina Graudina and Megan Kraft beat UCLA’s Savvy Simo and Lexy Denaburg in two sets 21-16, 21-17.

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