When UCLA’s sand
volleyball team arrived at Long Beach State on Tuesday, it looked across the
court only to see an all-too-familiar face staring back at it.
In her four years wearing blue and gold, Bojana Todorovic secured a national championship in the indoor format of the game before participating in the inaugural game for UCLA’s sand volleyball program just over a year ago.
But despite the Bruins’ knowledge of their former teammate, who as a graduate enrolled at Long Beach State for her last year of eligibility, they were unable to gain any form of advantage as they eventually fell to a 4-1 defeat against their No. 5-ranked opponents.
“It was definitely fun to play against Bojana,” said coach Stein Metzger. “Unfortunately for us, our doubles pair who faced her in the No. 1 game, Kamila Tan and Jessyka Ngauamo, are both (in their first year at UCLA) and so never got to see her play. What I am really happy about though is that they were able to stay resilient, put in a performance and keep the scores close in both sets.”
The Bruins’ lone victory of the day came in the No. 5 contest, where sophomores Karly Drolson and Rachel Inouye picked up where they left off in last week’s encouraging performances against Loyola Marymount and USC to win in three sets.
This all came despite the pair battling illness and having to overcome a 13-10 deficit in the final set. While others may have panicked with everything seemingly going against them, they stuck to the game plan, a tactic that saw them win six of the last seven points and take the win.
“Me and Rachel have been suffering with a cold over the past few days,” Drolson said. “With us both being sick, we knew that the main thing was to make sure that we didn’t get frustrated with ourselves when we missed shots that we would normally make. We hung in there for each other and didn’t change the way we were playing and it got us through in the end.”
Despite these individual successes, the Bruins’ defeat marked the third consecutive loss for the No. 6 Bruins (6-6), and with the season drawing to a close, few opportunities remain to turn their fortunes around.
The 2014 Beach Collegiate Challenge takes place this weekend, and it will be the final tournament of the regular season for UCLA.
The event, which is hosted by USA Volleyball, will take place in Hermosa Beach from April 12-13 and will see the Bruins take on the top-three ranked teams in the nation.
“We are excited for the competition,” Inouye said. “We are in a bit of a slump, but we will be healthy and ready to go this weekend, and can hopefully end the season with some wins.”