UCLA beach volleyball swept the Battle at the Beach in Santa Monica over the weekend, pushing its school-record winning streak to 23 consecutive victories.
The No. 3 Bruins (25-2) defeated No. 8 Arizona (13-8) and No. 5 Long Beach State (21-5) Sunday after a pair of victories over Washington and Concordia on Saturday.
The team began play against Long Beach State down 2-1 before junior Elise Zappia and freshman Torrey Van Winden tied up the score 2-2 after a victory on court three. Sophomore twins Megan McNamara and Nicole McNamara went on to secure the match, winning in three sets 21-17, 23-25, 15-11 in court one.
UCLA finished match play Sunday with a commanding 4-1 victory over Arizona. Freshmen Chanti Holroyd and Savvy Simo lost a three-set match 18-21, 21-19, 16-14 in court five to keep the Bruins from sweeping the Wildcats.
UCLA started the season 2-2 after a pair of losses against the top two teams in No. 1 USC and No. 2 Pepperdine. But after the pair of tough losses, the Bruins have solidified their status as legitimate national championship contenders come May.
During the winning streak, the Bruins have defeated 12 teams in the top 15 including four victories over top-five squads.
“The streak certainly helps us boost our confidence, but it’s the manner in which we’re winning these games that’s impressive,” said coach Stein Metzger.
The Bruins have been able to dominate their opponents with 11 5-0 sweeps during their winning streak. They’ve also been tested throughout but have found ways to win. UCLA has five 3-2 victories over its winning streak.
“There’s been times when we’ve been stuck in the corner but we’ve managed to come out with the win. It has really helped us build momentum,” Metzger said.
The Bruins held their Senior Day in Santa Monica as senior Jordan Anderson and graduate student Kamila Tan were honored.
For Tan, it was the culmination of a career as a pioneer for the program. According to Metzger, Tan was the first beach-only volleyball player at UCLA after she transferred from UC San Diego having played indoor volleyball for the Tritons.
Referred to as “the trailblazer of the program” by her team, Tan will have the distinct honor of being the first member of the Bruin beach volleyball team to begin and end her career within the program.
UCLA will take a break from match play before finishing the regular season in Los Angeles on April 22 as the team squares off against Cal Poly and undefeated defending national champions USC.