Inside an office in the J.D. Morgan Center Wednesday, the thought
of this weekend’s impending matchup against USC creates a pulse of excitement for
two sophomore sand volleyball players.
Rachel Inouye taps her partner Karly Drolson on the leg.
“It’s ‘SC,” Inouye whispers excitedly to Drolson.
“Yes,” Drolson replies back, reciprocating the enthusiasm.
It’s an understandable feeling for the Bruins, and one of something left unfinished.
The Trojans swept the Bruins cleanly in their last meeting. Ten sets up, 10 Bruin losses.
Some sets were close – close enough to leave the Bruins believing they can win their game against No. 1 USC as part of the USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge at Hermosa Beach this weekend.
“I think last time it was kind of nerve-wracking,” said senior Madie Smith. “Personally I didn’t know where we stood against them … but we just know if we actually fight, we can win and that’s exciting.”
Along with USC, UCLA will be potentially playing many teams it has lost to previously this season, such as Hawai’i, Pepperdine and LMU.
“I feel there’s an opportunity for us to take down some people that have had the upper hand this year,” said coach Stein Metzger.
But it’s in those previous matchups, though losses, the Bruins can take solace in.
This weekend’s matches will mark one of the first times all season the team will have film to watch on the opposition. It should provide the Bruins with a slight advantage.
But on the other side, the team has had to contend with the start of indoor volleyball practice season. Many players are on both the sand and indoor volleyball teams – a taxing feat as of late.
“I think it’s just hard because we have indoor too right now, so it’s kinda hard cause (some of us) want to focus so much on sand,” Drolson said.
But that focus on sand will have to be short-lived.
For most of the Bruin pairs, the matches Friday through Sunday will be their last of the season –only one of them will likely head to national championships in three weeks.
What once seemed like a long season has wound down to a few days time for many players. But there’s still time enough for one last strong showing.