After losing five seniors, the Bruins are set to add a few new faces next season.
No. 1 UCLA beach volleyball has three recruits slated to join the two-time defending champion 2020 squad: Lexy Denaburg, Rileigh Powers and Devon Newberry.
Denaburg is from Merritt Island High School in Merritt Island, Florida. The 6-footer played soccer, indoor volleyball and beach volleyball in high school. Her club beach team won the Amateur Athletic Union national championship each year from 2016 to 2018.
Coach Stein Metzger said Denaburg’s multisport athletic traits will help the Bruins in the new wave of beach volleyball.
“Of course, we’re looking for some physicality,” Metzger said. “The game continues to get more physical.”
Powers – another Sunshine State native coming west to UCLA – played for Oviedo High in Oviedo, Florida. She has won multiple national titles, including a gold medal at the 2014 AAU indoor national championship and the 2017 AAU beach national championship.
Denaburg and Powers won a gold medal as a pair at the 2018 USA Volleyball beach national championship and now may team up as college teammates.
“The three recruits we brought in are highly sought-after, blue-chip kids that are winning at an early age,” Metzger said. “They’re beating college players already in high school.”
Newberry will not have to travel as far as her new teammates, as she comes from Marymount High School in Santa Monica. While her high school did not offer beach volleyball, she has beach volleyball experience through the United States youth system.
UCLA freshman Lindsey Sparks has played alongside Newberry on multiple occasions. The pair placed fourth at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina, last October and second at the 2018 USAV Beach High Performance Championship.
Metzger said while this group brings in some experience, he and the other coaches are hoping to take their game to the next level.