For the third straight weekend, the Bruins didn’t drop a single match.
No. 2 UCLA beach volleyball (18-3) defeated Arizona State (4-10) and No. 15 Arizona (9-7) in 5-0 sweeps Saturday at the Pac-12 South Invitational in Santa Monica. On day two of the tournament, UCLA took down No. 14 California (13-3) 5-0 and Washington (3-6) 4-1, maintaining its 13-match win
Coach Stein Metzger said the Bruins remained consistent even at times when they needed more momentum.
“I was concerned, after a long tournament, of having a potential let down,” Metzger said. “But our team showed up and gave us what we needed.”
Metzger added that UCLA has never had a team with the kind of depth and consistency that this year’s team has.
“One of our strengths as a team is that we’re really deep,” Metzger said. “We’re able to get wins at every spot, even the fours and fives … (In fact), our fives team is the most consistent fives team in the country going up against top opponents.”
The court-five duo of junior Izzy Carey and freshman Megan Muret hold a 13-1 record and are ranked first in the nation. The duo clinched the team victory against Arizona State, Arizona, and Washington with straight wins. They also defeated California in two sets.
Against Arizona State, junior Sarah Sponcil and sophomore Lily Justine, who hold a 16-5 record on court two, provided the first victory by a score of 21-6, 21-5. Juniors Megan McNamara and Nicole McNamara, the reigning Pac-12 Pair of the Week, followed with a two-set victory on court one. The No. 1 pair of junior Zana Muno and sophomore Savvy Simo defeated the Sun Devils in three sets on court three.
Freshman Mac May and senior Elise Zappia, who hold a 6-2 record on court four, added another win over Arizona State in straight sets.
“(May), who’s obviously a great indoor player, has been getting more experience at the beach game, especially in recent weeks,” Metzger said. “She’s learning very quickly, which is going to make us even deeper as a team.”
When facing Arizona, Muno and Simo gave UCLA a 1-0 lead by notching a 21-19, 21-13 victory. The pair on court two and court four followed with straight wins over the Wildcats, while the McNamara duo defeated their opponents in three sets with scores of 21-15, 19-21, and 15-11.
“It was really down to the wire in the end,” Megan McNamara said. “(Arizona was) a really solid team. … (But we’ve been working on) playing our aggressive style even when the matches get tight towards the end.”
On Sunday, May and Zappia provided the first victory against California by scores of 21-19, 21-12. Sponcil and Justine clinched the team victory against the Bears with a 21-18 win in the first set and a 21-13 win in the second set. UCLA won in straight sets on all courts against California.
“The toughest competition might have been Cal,” May said. “They were a little more polished than the other teams. … But overall, it wasn’t a weekend where you could just take a break and expect to win easily. Each game was a battle.”
The McNamara sisters gave UCLA a 1-0 lead against Washington with a 21-18 win in the first set and a 21-12 win in the second set. Muno and Simo defeated the Huskies in two sets while May and Zappia defeated their opponents in three sets. Sponcil and Justine were the only pair to fall to the Huskies.
With UCLA amassing four back-to-back victories, Metzger said that UCLA is in excellent condition to challenge its rival – No. 1 Pepperdine.
“This will be our last chance to play them before the postseason,” Metzger said. “They beat us on their home soil, so it’s our turn now to beat them in our home turf.”