Hailey Harward/Julia Scoles at the World University Championship

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 10, 2022) – The U.S. beach volleyball team of Hailey Harward/Julia Scoles took the gold medal on Saturday at the World University Championships in Maceio, Brazil.

Harward/Scoles, who were seeded 28th, finished the tournament 6-1. In the final, they beat No. 2 Daniela Álvarez/ Tania Moreno of Spain, 2-0 (21-16, 21-10).

They had a tougher match in the semifinals when they defeated the No. 4 German team of Anna-Lena Grüne/ Chenoa Christ, 2-0 (23-21, 23-21).

“We had a lot of ups and downs in the match and ended both sets in overtime, which was crazy,” Harward said. “It was a very fun match under the lights. The crowd was electric. It was a super cool environment.”

The U.S. women’s team of Maddie Anderson/Lexy Denaburg, seeded third, finished ninth overall after beating Canada’s No. 1 seeded Lea Monkhouse/Molley McBain in the ninth-place final, 2-1 (21-15, 19-21, 15-13).

“My ultimate takeaway is that international play is way different than collegiate competition,” Anderson said. “We had to fight through adversity and play some difficult games to place ninth. I’m happy with the experience and I can’t wait for more with Lex.”

Denaburg said: “Three weeks ago, I didn’t even know if I would be able to play, so I’m just blessed to be here. This was my first international tournament and I’ve learned about more than just volleyball. It was a long, hot tournament, but I’m proud of how Maddie and I finished.”

The U.S. team of Torrey Van Winden/Xolani Hodel, seeded 15th, had to withdraw due to injury after winning their first-round match over Argentina’s No. 14 Victoria Pozzo/Carla De Brito.

On the men’s side, all three teams finished in the top 25.

The team of Sebastian Rodriguez/Jack Walmer, seeded 22nd, finished 15th overall. In the 15th-place match, they beat Switzerland’s No. 13 Nathan Broch/Flavio Sütterlin, 2-1 (21-19, 14-21, 15-11).

“There is only one thing that comes to mind for this tourney and that is fighting through adversity,” Walmer said. “We both got sick at the same time, which led to a very rough couple days of competition. But we do get to leave Maceio on a win.”

Rodriguez added: “This was a difficult tournament for a handful of reasons. Coming back from steep deficits in matches; playing new and unseen, high-level of competition and playing through sickness. You have to be OK with things being ugly and battling through adversity.”

No. 25 Wyatt Harrison/Charlie Siragusa placed 21st, defeating Costa Rica’s No. 16 Luis Alejandro Padilla/Criforth Fallas Lobo in the final match, 2-0 (21-9, 21-15).

No. 30 Heath Hughes/Ryan Smith placed 25th. They won their final match 2-0 (26-24, 21-14) over Chile’s Martin Alejandro Sandoval/ Tomas Francisco Reyes.

U.S. Beach Players Competing at the World University Championships

Name (Ht., Hometown, College, Region)
Maddie Anderson (6-1, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Florida State, Florida)
Lexy Denaburg (6-0, Merritt Island, Fla., UCLA, Florida)

Torrey Van Winden (6-3, Napa, Calif., Florida State, Northern California)
Xolani Hodel (6-1, Huntington Beach, Calif., Stanford, Southern California)

Julia Scoles (6-1, Mooresville, N.C., USC, Carolina)
Hailey Harward (5-9, Phoenix, Ariz., USC, Arizona)

Sebastian Rodriguez (6-5, Hermosa Beach, Calif., Long Beach State, Southern California)
Jack Walmer (6-3, Manhattan Beach, Calif., UC Santa Barbara, Southern California)

Wyatt Harrison (6-6, Santa Cruz, Calif., UC San Diego, Northern California)
Charlie Siragusa (6-9, Rochester, N.Y., UC San Diego, Western Empire)

Heath Hughes (6-7, Haines City, Fla., BYU, Florida)
Ryan Smith (6-8, Parker, Colo., Campbellsville, Rocky Mountain)