Despite recent lineup changes, the Bruins finished the regular season with new records.
No. 1 UCLA beach volleyball (31-3, 3-0 Pac-12) claimed its 26th consecutive win by defeating No. 6 Long Beach State (23-6) 4-1 on Thursday in Long Beach, California. The victory marked UCLA’s 31st win – a new school record for most wins in a single season.
“It just shows the progress that we’ve had over the last six years, since we’ve started this program,” said coach Stein Metzger. “It’s nice to see it all come to fruition, all the hard work that we’ve put into it, all the way from the administration to our support staff. We feel like we’re in a good spot right now.”
UCLA posts a 7-4 all-time record against Long Beach State. This is the second time the Bruins have beaten the 49ers this year.
Since its first meeting with UCLA, Long Beach State changed four of its five pairs. Despite these adjustments, sophomore Madi Yeomans said UCLA became familiar with its opposition.
“(Long Beach State is) a really good team,” Yeomans said. “This whole week, we trained hard in the wind and tried to, like, get in their heads (to figure out) what they were going to do, so we were really prepared for all of their plays.”
With junior Zana Muno’s injury on April 7, UCLA also had to make lineup changes. Yeomans teamed up with senior Elise Zappia while freshman Mac May paired with Muno’s former partner, sophomore Savvy Simo.
“The lineup we had today was a strong lineup,” Metzger said. “I think we can beat any team on any given day. We just have to show up and play well.”
Yeomans and Zappia, who hold a 9-6 overall record, defeated the No. 6-ranked pair of Kristyna Adamcikova and Nicci Reinking in three sets.
“(Our transition together) was hard,” Yeomans said. “The first (set) was a little shaky – we lost that one. But slowly but surely, we’re getting our groove back. It just takes patience really.”
The No. 6-ranked pair of sophomore Lily Justine and junior Sarah Sponcil defeated their opponents in two sets and now post a 27-7 record on court two.
The No. 5 juniors Megan McNamara and Nicole McNamara clinched the dual with a 21-15, 21-19 victory. The No. 1 duo of junior Izzy Carey and freshman Megan Muret defeated the 49ers in two sets and now hold a 25-1 record on court five.
May and Simo, who hold an overall 3-5 record, fell to the No. 1-ranked pair of Hailey Harward and Adamcikova in a 21-19, 21-18 loss on court three.
“Right now, we’re just working on our fundamentals,” May said. “We’re just working on our defense to run plays, to just get the ball up and return it as best we can.”
While Muno remains on leave, Metzger said he sees promise in the emerging partnerships.
“I think the biggest strength of this team is the depth that we have,” Metzger said. “We’re deeper than any team in the nation, so when we’re missing somebody or if we need to make a switch for whatever reason, we feel really confident that the next person can step in and step up, and we can still get wins.”