Jack Perez, Daily Bruin staff
For the first time in program history, the Bruins will be finishing their regular season right at home.
No. 1 UCLA beach volleyball (26-1) will close out its regular season with home duals against No. 10 Long Beach State (17-7) and No. 15 Grand Canyon (19-9) at Sunset Canyon Recreation Center on Saturday.
The Bruins faced both teams last season, winning 5-0 and 4-1 in two matchups with the 49ers and winning 5-0 over the Antelopes.
Coach Stein Metzger said after the team’s last game that the break between the Pac-12 North Tournament and the home finale would help his team focus up and recover from a tough stretch of playing five top-10 ranked teams in 10 days.
“We’re going into a two-week time period where we can train,” Metzger said. “We have some valuable video we can watch and take a look at. We hope that nobody gets sick or injured down the stretch. If that were to happen, I’d still feel very confident in the squad.”
UCLA lost its 25-game winning streak against No. 2 USC on April 7. The Bruins had won the previous six over their crosstown rivals, dating back to last season.
Seniors Megan and Nicole McNamara lost against the Trojans but have the opportunity to end their home careers with two more wins, along with fellow seniors Izzy Carey, Zana Muno and Sarah Sponcil.
Metzger said he hopes his team takes the loss in stride and his seniors get back on track in front of the home crowd one last time.
“In a sense, we’ve been wondering when somebody would challenge us like this,” Metzger said. “We can take the opportunity to take a deep look at what we want to do and what we want to change. It’s a lot easier to make adjustments and to learn from a loss than it is from a win.”
Dylan D’Souza, Daily Bruin staff
Stella Sampras Webster said the Bruins will play in their toughest road environment.
No. 10 UCLA women’s tennis (15-6, 7-2 Pac-12) will finish its regular season by traveling across town to face rival No. 15 USC (17-5, 7-2) on Saturday with the opportunity to even out the season series.
“Every time we play them, we’ve got to expect there to be some kind of issue or controversy,” Sampras Webster said. “The emotions are always really high which makes it really interesting.”
In the most recent matchup between the two Los Angeles powerhouses, USC overwhelmed UCLA 4-1 at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. The only point the Bruins picked up came on singles court one as redshirt junior No. 39 Jada Hart eased past then-No. 34 Salma Ewing 6-0, 6-2.
The Bruins have two top-50 singles players in their lineup, while the Trojans have only one top-100 singles player in theirs.
UCLA also boasts two top-15 doubles teams – a feat only rivaled by No. 2 North Carolina – which has helped the Bruins secure the opening point of the match nine straight times.
UCLA and USC are tied for second with No. 13 Washington (17-3, 7-2) in the Pac-12 conference standings behind No. 4 Stanford (18-1, 9-0), which is undefeated in the conference.
“(USC) will have their band and it’s their Senior Day so it’s going to be a great atmosphere,” Sampras Webster said. “I think our players will thrive on it.”
Women’s water polo
Claire Britton, Daily Bruin contributor
The Bruins will celebrate Senior Day during their final regular-season game.
No. 4 UCLA women’s water polo (21-4, 4-1 MPSF) will host No. 1 USC (22-1, 4-1) on Saturday in its final game before the MPSF tournament.
Out of the five conference games the Bruins have played, they have won every one except against No. 2 Stanford.
Senior goalkeeper Carlee Kapana logged twelve saves in the Bruins’ 7-6 loss to the Cardinal on the road.
The last time UCLA faced USC at the Triton Invitational, the Bruins walked away with a 10-3 loss. Junior attackers Maddie Musselman and Bronte Halligan and sophomore attacker Lexi Liebowitz were the three to each score a goal.
UCLA recently defeated No. 19 San Jose State by a score of 13-3, with major help from Halligan.
Halligan walked away from their game with a season-high and career-high-tying four goals on four separate shots.
In their game against the Trojans, the Bruins will be honoring the seniors: Grace Reego, Carlee Kapana, Louise Hazell, Lizette Rozeboom, Rachel Whitelegge, Sarah Sheldon, Kelsey Blacker, Allison Wieseler and Hannah Zari.
The Bruins will face the Trojans at 4 p.m. on Saturday at the Spieker Aquatics Center.