The Bruins fell just one match short of completing a perfect weekend.
No. 1 UCLA beach volleyball (5-0) finished undefeated at the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Beach Classic in Hawaii. UCLA defeated No. 11 Stanford (0-4), St. Mary’s (1-3), No. 5 Hawai’i (2-2) and No. 4 Pepperdine (3-1) by scores of 5-0, 5-0, 5-0 and 4-1, respectively.
Coach Stein Metzger said even though the weather conditions were not ideal, his team dug deep and found a way to win each time out this weekend.
“I think the team showed a lot of resiliency,” Metzger said. “We were down in many of our games, but they showed a lot of patience. It was gusty and windy today, and I thought they handled that well.”
The Bruins are 9-0 in the third set this season, including seniors Nicole and Megan McNamara’s comeback against the Waves this weekend. The twins lost the first game and were down 19-17 in the second before rallying back and taking both the second and third set by a score of 24-22.
Junior Lily Justine said the Bruins have performed well in the third set this season because they are free from stress with other duos performing well.
“Going into third games is tough because there’s a lot of pressure on you,” Justine said. “But it’s not just you. There’s four other teams and it’s nice to know that my other teammates have my back. Honestly we just say, ‘Let’s go out there and have fun and do us.’”
The Bruins swept the Rainbow Wahine in a complete flip of last season. UCLA was swept 5-0 in its first matchup against Hawai’i last season.
The Bruins finished off the matches this year with a kill from senior Sarah Sponcil to clinch the 5-0 victory. Metzger said the experiences his team carried over from last year helped push the Bruins past opponents that beat them last year.
“(The wins are) due to having an experienced team and having five seniors,” Metzger said. “That really goes a long way. They’ve been through the ringer. They understand what it takes to show up when you go to different locations.”
UCLA will play again Wednesday against crosstown rival No. 2 USC (0-0). The Bruins went 5-1 against the Trojans last season.
Freshman Abby Van Winkle said the team will look to recover before their midweek matchup with their top-two rival after flying back from the Aloha State.
“We need to rest up because we’re coming back in tonight,” Van Winkle said. “I think we’re just pumped up and (have) lots of energy going into it because it is USC. Everyone is going to be fired up because it is (our rival).”