UCLA’s sand volleyball team fell to the top two teams in the nation in back-to-back matches Wednesday.
The No. 6 Bruins won only one of a combined 10 matches against the No. 1 Pepperdine Waves and No. 2 Long Beach State 49ers, yet coach Stein Metzger said he is pleased at the team’s improvement over the course of its first season.
“If we played them earlier in the season, it would’ve been a blood bath,” he said.
As a nascent competitor in the sand volleyball world going up against the nation’s two best, sophomore Karsta Lowe said the team went in with relatively low expectations.
“We were going into it with the outlook of ‘there’s nothing to lose, we’re not the high-ranked team, we’re not the people that are known for the reputation of being really strong,’” she said.
“All we have to do is do our best and if we don’t win, it’s okay.”
Lowe and her partner, senior Bojana Todorovic, were the only two members of UCLA’s team to manage a win, winning their matchup over Long Beach State. Two other pairs managed to force a third set, but ultimately they both fell short.
Lowe said the home team, Pepperdine, seemed fairly comfortable in the excessively windy conditions of Wednesday’s meet. Because of this, Metzger said he plans to increase the number of practices UCLA has in the wind.
“Next year, we’re going to have more afternoon practices when the wind picks up.”
Nevertheless, Metzger said he was impressed with his team’s performance Wednesday, especially its competitive performance against Long Beach State.
“We were nipping at the heels of the No. 2 team in the country,” he said. “Our showing today was surprising – everybody felt really good about where they’re at today.”