The LSU beach volleyball team is ranked No. 3. They competed Saturday against No. 4 UCLA in two matches at Mapes Beach in Florida.
The Tigers played UCLA in the early and late afternoon. LSU dropped the first match 4-1. Later, LSU fell again 3-2 to UCLA.
"We know that when you play really good teams," Head Coach Russell Brock said, "you can't give away points. There is zero doubt that in these tight matches that didn't go our way, you could count the points that we gave away and if we had any of those, it would have went our way."
Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss are the final unbeaten pair in the nation. LSU made the matches tough and didn’t let the wins come easy for UCLA even though the scores did not show it.
"We get another big test tomorrow," Brock said. "It's one that we have to find a way not just to be better, but to be more consistent to give ourselves a shot."
In the first match, the Tigers struggled to get up to speed on Courts Two and Four. Jess Lansman and Sydney Moore fell on Court Four with scores of 21-14 and 21-12. Claire Coppola and Kelli Greene-Agnew also fell 21-17 in both sets.
On Court Five, Olivia Ordonez and Kahlee York dropped the first set 21-18 but came back, winning the second set 21-17 to force a third set. They fell on the last set 15-10.
Ashlyn Rasnick-Pope and Toni Rodriguez fell on the first set 25-23 on Court Three but took home a win on the second set 21-19. They lost the third set 15-11.
On Court One Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss played in a battle. They brought excitement all throughout the stadium. They took home the win for the first set on Court One 21-14. They played a close game in the second set and lost 25-23. In the third set, they had to play till 27-25 which is way past a normal game score for a third set. They took home the win on the third set and won the only court for LSU.
The Tigers and Bruins went up against each other again an hour and a half later. Lansman and Moore fell again on Court Four with scores of 21-18 and 21-14. Coppola and Greene-Agnew came back strong and won both sets 21-16 and 22-20. They didn’t even allow UCLA the third match.
"I think everybody played better in the second match, which says a lot about our ability to make adjustments," Brock said.
Kloth and Nuss continued their unbeatable season by winning in straight sets 24-22 and 21-14. This elite pair is the only undefeated pair in the nation remaining.
On Court Three, Rasnick-Pope and Rodriguez took home the first match 21-13 but lost the next set 21-16. In the third set, they fell again 15-12. Ordonez and York fell in a close game. They lost the first set on Court Five 21-19 but came back in the second set winning 21-12. They fell just short in the third set 15-13.
LSU played against No. 1 USC in a double-header Sunday against the Trojans. The Tigers took home the first win of the day but lost the second game against the Trojans.
Kloth and Nuss remained undefeated after both games. They took down future Olympian Tina Graudina and All-American Sammy Slater in two battles on Court One. They won the first set 21-12, but lost the next 21-19 on court one. They ended up bringing home the win 15-13.
Kloth and Nuss took home the win again in the second game. They won both sets 24-22 and 21-15 on court one.
"Clearly we knew it was going to be tight matches across the board in every round this weekend," Brock said. "That's what we expected that every match on every court was going to be tight and it was going to be really good volleyball played at a really high level."
Lansman and Moore won the first game on Court Four with both scores of 21-19.
Rasnick-Pope and Rodriguez took home the win on Court Three with scores of 21-18 and 21-13. In the second game, they won the first set 21-18, but lost the second set 21-15. They ended up losing the next set 15-10 against USC.
"Across the board, there is improvement that needs to be made, and every weekend that is evident," Brock said. "This weekend was extra important for that feedback because you're playing against the teams that matter most in the landscape of our sport."