Claire Coppola (#14) of LSU gets a block versus UCLA during the NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship held at Gulf Beach Place on May 5, 2018 in Gulf Shores, Alabama. | Photo by Justin Tafoya/NCAA Photos via Getty Images
The #2 LSU Tigers earned their second win over #1 UCLA in Baton Rouge on Saturday night.
LSU Beach Volleyball Stadium may not have the tradition of Tiger Stadium, but on Saturday night, Death Volley is just as tough as Death Valley.
The #1 UCLA Bruins (7-2) found that out the hard way as the #2 LSU Tigers (5-2) won the beach volleyball game of the century 3-2 on Saturday night in front of a record crowd of 2,161.
“Coming out to the stadium and looking out and seeing it packed with no grass visible, it was incredible,” graduate transfer Jess Schaben said. “We could feel it. Whenever we got a point I could feel the energy.”
LSU beach volleyball started the match on the fourth court with a strong performance by graduate transfer Teryn Kloth and sophomore Agnew.
Agnew and Kloth beat UCLA’s fourth court pair, 21-17 and 21-17 to put LSU up 1-0.
Agnew and Kloth were named the AVCA and CCSA Pairs of the Week last week and have not lost a set for LSU all season.
“They are a tough pair to beat,” coach Russell Brock said. “That is the beauty of our program because at 1, 2, 3, and 4, they are all good.”
LSU dropped the fifth court to UCLA losing the third set 15-12 and the first set 21-9. The Tigers did win the second set, 21-18 to force a third set.
LSU would retake the lead on the first court as the senior duo of Claire Coppola and Kristen Nuss won 21-18 and 22-20.
Scaben and freshman partner Sydney Moore put LSU over the top with a win on court two. The duo took the first set 22-20 before dropping the second set 15-21 leading to a decisive third set 15-11.
“We are going to keep pushing and working to get even better” Moore said. “This is just a start. That was three games, so it was definitely close. We are going to keep getting better and keep moving forward.
The Tigers would fall on court three in a third set but it would not dampen the mood of the big win.
The Tigers had previously beaten the Houston Baptist Huskies (3-4) earlier in the day in a 5-0 sweep.
LSU remains undefeated in the on-campus stadium which opened last year.
“This is the biggest crowd (in this stadium) by far,” said Brock. “It may even be the largest to see a college match in the United States and to have it play out like it did with all the drama for the Tigers to come out to win. That is going to reverberate for the rest of our season, and maybe our program.”
“There were people here who would have never been here before but came out because it was #1 versus #2 and they are going to be back now,” continued Brock. “And they should, because it was amazing.”
The Tigers will be back in action tomorrow with games against the Tulane Green Wave, Spring Hill Badgers, and Texas A-M Corpus Christi Islanders starting at 9:00 AM.
LSU hopes that they will be able to continue to fill Death Volley.
“All the awesome fans that came out to support us, we cannot thank them enough,” Schaben said. “We hope that they continue to support us the rest of the season because it made a huge difference.”