The Bruins faced the Trojans and Waves for the second time this week – but the matches had the opposite result.
No. 3 UCLA beach volleyball (5-3) fell to No. 1 USC (5-3) and No. 5 Pepperdine (5-2) in Malibu on Saturday after defeating both teams Wednesday.
“Those are both great teams and it’s hard to beat a great team twice in a row,” said coach Stein Metzger. “We knew that coming into (the matches) and prepared as best we could.”
Against the Trojans, the Bruins won three first sets and grabbed an early lead with a two-set win on court five by sophomore Savvy Simo and junior Zana Muno.
Muno joined the lineup for the first time after being out with a back injury. Simo, who has also played with freshman Mac May and sophomore Chanti Holroyd this season, said that having experience with Muno in indoors led to a strong partnership.
“I’m very flexible with whoever I’m playing with,” Simo said. “But I was excited because (Muno and I) had been training together and we’ve been doing a lot of practice.”
The Bruins held a 1-0 lead but the Trojans quickly evened the match, as their pair on court four defeated junior Izzy Carey and freshman Megan Muret in two sets.
After narrowly defeating USC 23-21 in the opening set, junior Sarah Sponcil and sophomore Lily Justine came out on top with a 21-15 second-set victory on court two to regain the lead for UCLA.
The Trojans were quick to tie it back up, taking home a three-set win on court one.
The match came down to the third set on court three and USC was victorious, defeating senior Elise Zappia and sophomore Madi Yeomans.
Since the match Wednesday, USC shuffled its lineup, which Metzger said made it difficult to prepare for the pairs UCLA would face.
“We just didn’t play our best match in some of the slots where we’ve been pretty steady,” Metzger said.
UCLA opened its match against Pepperdine by dropping all its first sets for the first time this season. The Waves took the second sets on courts four, two and five to clinch the match.
The Bruins’ sole victory came from Zappia and Yeomans on court three.
Wind has been a challenging factor for the Bruins this season, and Metzger said that continued to be the case at Pepperdine.
“They know how to play in that kind of wind,” Metzger said. “We took a lot of notes from them and learned from how they played because if we can make it to Gulf Shores at the end of the year, there will be at least one day that will have that kind of wind.”
UCLA will return home this Thursday to face No. 2 Hawai’i and No. 20 Loyola Marymount.
“At this point it’s anyone’s game,” Justine said. “I think today showed that we can’t take our foot off the gas (and) we can’t let up.”