LSU’s Kristen Nuss and Taryn Kloth did what college beach volleyball’s only undefeated Court 1 pair was supposed to do Sunday.
When the outcome of the first of two matchups for the No. 3 ranked Tigers at No. 1 ranked USC hinged on Court 1, Nuss and Kloth beat future Olympian Tina Graudina and All-American Sammy Slater 21-12, 19-21, 15-13 to give LSU a 3-2 win.
USC got revenge in the second match with a 3-2 victory. But Nuss and Kloth again beat Graudina and Slater, this time in straight sets 24-22, 21-15.
Nuss and Kloth are now 22-0 (with 20 straight set wins) this season, winning 44 of 46 sets.
No. 3 LSU (17-5) and No. 2 Florida State both made the journey to Los Angeles Saturday and Sunday and both went 1-1 against No. 1 USC and 0-2 against No. 4 UCLA.
“Clearly we knew it was going to be tight matches across the board in every round this weekend,” LSU coach Russell 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.
“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.”
The Tigers showed fight in the sand Sunday, rebounding after dropping two tightly contested matchups Saturday at No. 4 UCLA.
“I think that that’s the character of our team,” Brock said. “We played better today against a team that is really strong and deep. I think we still left a bit on the table, but I’m glad it’s in the middle of the season and not in Gulf Shores in May (when the NCAA championships are scheduled).”
No. 3 LSU def. No. 1 USC, 3-2
Court 1. Taryn KLOTH/Kristen NUSS (LSU) def. Tina GRAUDINA/Sammy SLATER (USC); 21-12, 19-21, 15-13
Court 2. Hailey HARWARD/Megan KRAFT (USC) def. Claire COPPOLA/Kelli GREEN-AGNEW (LSU); 21-15, 21-18
Court 3. Ashlyn RASNICK-POPE/Toni RODRIGUEZ (LSU) def. Mollie EBERTIN/Haley HALLGREN (USC); 21-18, 21-13
Court 4. Jess LANSMAN/Sydney MOORE (LSU) def. Joy DENNIS/Delaynie MAPLE (USC); 21-19, 21-19
Court 5. Audrey NOURSE/Nicole NOURSE (USC) def. Olivia ORDONEZ/Kahlee YORK (LSU); 23-21, 21-13
Exh. Paige DREEUWS/Maja KAISER (USC) vs. Lara BOOS/Ellie SHANK (LSU); 15-21, 22-20
No. 1 USC def. No. 3 LSU, 3-2
Court 1. Taryn KLOTH/Kristen NUSS (LSU) def. Tina GRAUDINA/Sammy SLATER (USC); 24-22, 21-15
Court 2. Hailey HARWARD/Megan KRAFT (USC) def. Claire COPPOLA/Kelli GREEN-AGNEW (LSU); 21-12, 17-21, 15-11
Court 3. Ashlyn RASNICK-POPE/Toni RODRIGUEZ (LSU) def. Paige DREEUWS/Haley HALLGREN (USC); 21-18, 15-21, 15-10
Court 4. Joy DENNIS/Delaynie MAPLE (USC) def. Jess LANSMAN/Sydney MOORE (LSU); 21-17, 21-14
Court 5. Audrey NOURSE/Nicole NOURSE (USC) def. Olivia ORDONEZ/Kahlee YORK (LSU); 27-25, 14-21, 15-10
Exh. Reilly ALLRED/Grace SEITS (LSU) def. Maja KAISER/Josannah VAZQUEZ (USC); 23-21, 21-15