UCLA beach volleyball moved up a spot in national rankings this week after upsetting two top-four teams in four days.
The Bruins had yet to defeat a top-three team this season before taking down two of the nation’s top teams last weekend, an effort that made UCLA the fourth-ranked team in the country. UCLA toppled No. 1 Pepperdine Wednesday before defeating No. 4 Hawai’i in Honolulu on Saturday.
Both big victories were powered by the same two players – freshman phenom pair Megan McNamara and Nicole McNamara. The rookies showcased experience and maturity – qualities not often associated with first-year players – as they secured both the Pepperdine and Hawai’i upsets by winning the No. 1 spot.
Against Hawai’i, the McNamaras drew on their experience breaking a 2-2 tie with Pepperdine three days earlier when coming from behind to beat Nikki Taylor and Lara Schreiber, 17-21, 21-16, 15-6.
The freshmen’s efforts over the past week were enough to catch the eye of the Pac-12, which named the duo Conference Beach Volleyball Pair of the Week. Coach Stein Metzger has asked a lot of the newcomers this season, with their No. 1 position meaning that they compete against veteran talent from other teams.
The McNamaras have risen above and beyond since being tapped to be the team’s top pair, completing a 3-0 sweep of competition last week with a 2-0 sweep over Arizona State on Saturday.
The Bruins have four regular season competitions remaining on the schedule before the Pac-12 championships, with the inaugural NCAA national championship looming in May.