Despite an injury that shook up the lineup, the Bruins made history. The Bruins have now won 25 straight dual matches, the most in school history.
“We’re all super excited to have this momentum going into the postseason,” said junior Nicole McNamara. “We just want to keep riding this out for the rest of the season.”
No. 1 UCLA beach volleyball (30-3) defeated No. 5 Cal Poly (22-4) and No. 13 Stanford (13-9) 4-1 while sweeping No. 20 Saint Mary’s (13-9) and Pacific (6-10) at the Stanford West Coast Classic on Saturday and Sunday at the Stanford Beach Volleyball Stadium.
During the second set of their match against Cal Poly, sophomore Savvy Simo said junior Zana Muno suffered a knee injury. The pair managed to take the match to three sets and win the game, but Muno was taken out of the lineup for the rest of the tournament.
“(Muno) dove for a loose ball and she fell kind of weird,” Simo said. “(She) called timeout as if we were losing. End of the second set, she called timeout. She said she was fine and then she came back and hit a ball and she was like ‘It’s not okay, it’s not okay.’ … Her knee kept giving out but she fought through it and didn’t even take a medical timeout. We just finished the game.”
With the Bruins at a 1-1 tie against the Mustangs, the pair could have forfeited the match on court three, but Muno decided to keep playing.
“(She’s) a true competitor and team player,” said coach Stein Metzger. “She loves to compete no matter what is going on. We had no idea the degree of the injury and we still don’t, so she made the call to continue playing.”
Metzger said the Mustangs targeted Muno with the ball, but the No. 3 nationally ranked pair adjusted its style of play to clinch the dual.
Of the four matches that UCLA won against Cal Poly, three of them were secured in two sets. Senior Elise Zappia and freshman Mac May were the only players to fall to the Mustangs.
Prior to the game against Cal Poly, UCLA defeated Saint Mary’s in straight sets on all courts.
Muno and Simo, the reigning Pac-12 Pair of the Week, clinched the match with scores of 22-20, 25-23.
“We had a rocky start in both the first set and the second set,” Simo said. “But we do a really good job in pressure situations of figuring it out and coming back and winning and battling.”
After the loss of Muno, Metzger moved May from her usual No. 4 position to court three. On Sunday against Pacific, May and Simo gave UCLA the 3-0 dual victory before the pairs on courts one and two completed their matches for a final 5-0 sweep.
Sophomore Madi Yeomans, who made her first appearance since March 11, was summoned to play alongside her old partner Zappia.
“It kind of took me by surprise,” Yeomans said. “I’ve only really practiced like two days, two or three days with the team. … This is really my first time playing in a while.”
The rekindled partnership of Yeomans and Zappia was the only pair to go to three sets against Pacific.
“Even though we went to three with Pacific, I think it was just more of a matter of getting our groove back,” Yeomans said. “I struggled in the Pacific game …. but by the time we matched up with Stanford, I think I was ready.”
In the final game in the weekend, against Stanford, Metzger said he moved Yeomans and Zappia to court five to ease the readjustment of playing together again. Yeomans and Zappia defeated the Cardinal in two sets by scores of 21-17, 21-10.
Juniors Megan and Nicole McNamara, the reigning ACVA and DiG Volleyball Magazine National Pair of the Week, defeated Stanford in three sets. May and Simo were the ones to fall to the Cardinal by scores of 21-19, 15-21 and 15-12.
With four more victories under their belt, UCLA surpassed the old record of 24 consecutive wins from last season.
“I think it gives us a sense of confidence going into postseason, especially since we competed day two without (Muno),” Metzger said. “I think one of the hallmarks of our team is that we have one of the deepest teams in the country, so if we’re without someone for whatever reason, I think we remain competitive.”