Jessie Dueck, one of the nation’s top beach volleyball players for the Class of 2025, had her email inbox slammed with interest college coaches minutes after it turned June 15. It was the first day coaches could contact high school players who have completed their sophomore season.
Jessie Dueck signals to her teammate during a beach volleyball match. (Contributed)
She fielded nearly a dozen calls from coaches for some of the country’s top programs that day, and a handful more the following day. The options were plentiful, but Dueck made her decision by the weekend. She waited nearly a week before announcing her choice on social media Thursday.
The incoming junior at Soquel High revealed that she’ll play for UCLA, a two-time NCAA Division I champion and four-time finalist, beginning in 2026-27.
Dueck, a member of USA Volleyball’s National Team Development Program since 2018, let her emotions take control when she gave her commitment to first-year Bruins head coach Jenny Johnson Jordan.
“When I got the offer I was like, ‘Oh gosh, this is actually happening,’ and started crying,” said the 5-foot-10 right-handed hitter, who earned the Junior Volleyball Association’s Best In Beach Award last season.
Dueck also strongly considered Cal, Texas, Arizona State, Stanford and Louisiana State.
“There are a lot of good programs out there, so it was pretty hard for me,” Dueck said of the decision.
The Bruins (40-4 overall, 7-0 Pac-12) — under coach Stein Metzger, who departed to Texas to start the Longhorns’ beach program following the season — lost to Southern Cal 3-2 in the ’23 NCAA Championship in Gulf Shores, Alabama, on May 7, It was the Bruins’ second championship loss in three years to the Trojans, who have rattled off three straight national titles. (The Trojans also reached out to Dueck.) Metzger led UCLA to NCAA titles in 2018 and ’19.
It seems only fitting that Dueck chose a Southern California program. She plays beach for MBsand Beach Volleyball Club in Manhattan Beach.
Jessie Dueck, left, goes up for a block in a beach volleyball match. (Contributed)
“For the Class of 2025, she’s one of the top players in the country,” said Patty Dodd, a Beach Volleyball Hall of Famer and one of her coaches at MBsand. “She’s pretty well rounded. She’s a good passer and setter, and a really good attacker. And she can split block, which makes her really attractive to college coaches. She’s good defender. She’s fierce on the court.”
Dueck said three factors helped her select UCLA: location, coaching and team chemistry.
Friend and MBSand teammate Mallory LaBreche, also an incoming junior, is also committing to the Bruins, Dueck said. making her decision that much sweeter. LaBreche, who attends Palos Verdes, and Dueck were both listed on VolleyballMag.com’s Girls Beach 25 Underclassmen to Watch in December.
Also an indoor standout, Dueck helped Soquel win the Central Coast Section Division IV crown as a freshman in ’21.
Katie Dueck said her daughter’s love for beach volleyball grew exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“She was on the beach every day,” her mother said.
Dueck’s two siblings, both Aptos alumni, played college athletics. Her sister, Cameron, played beach volleyball for Pepperdine in ’21, and her brother, Owen, just completed his freshman season for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s baseball team.