After their straight-set victory, Savvy Simo and Madi Yeomans sprinted to watch courts one and two.
Because that’s what it came down to.
No. 1-seeded UCLA beach volleyball (34-3) took a 2-1 lead over No. 2-seeded USC (24-11) after the sophomore duo’s win, needing a third-set comeback from either court one or two.
That’s exactly what the top team in the nation did, winning the dual 3-2 to secure a spot in the championship final.
The two teams split victories on courts four and five, knotting the score up early at 1-1. Senior Elise Zappia used momentum from back-to-back aces to fight off five set points to avoid a third set. Zappia alongside partner freshman Mac May put the Bruins on the board first with a score of 21-16, 23-21.
The Trojans, however, snapped junior Izzy Carey and freshman Megan Muret’s school-record 28-match win streak. UCLA won 22 consecutive sets as a team prior to the pair’s loss.
The pairs on courts one and two for the Bruins lost each of their first sets, and both trailed 18-16 in the second set.
Juniors Nicole and Megan McNamara on court one struggled early on, combining to commit six hitting errors and falling into a 7-1 hole. The pair had won 23 of its last 24 matches heading into this one, with its one loss being against the same USC duo in a home matchup earlier this month.
However, the McNamaras dropped their first set 21-13 and fell short of a third-set comeback as USC tied it up at 2-2.
The dual was in hands of sophomore Lily Justine and junior Sarah Sponcil on court two.
The pair battled through a third set with the rest of the team cheering on from the sidelines. UCLA held on after a misfiring out of bounds by USC’s Sammy Slater to extend its win streak to 29.
Despite this win, the Bruins may have to get past the Trojans one more time. USC will now have to play an extra dual in the contenders bracket and will face the winner between No. 3-seeded California and No. 6-seeded Washington in order to have a shot at the conference title.
UCLA will face the winner of the contenders final Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m.