Beach volleyball succeeds in high-pressure matches
Megan McNamara won three matches this weekend with her partner Nicole McNamara. The junior clinched the victory for UCLA against Hawai’i on Sunday. (Aubrey Yeo/Daily Bruin Senior)
February 25, 2018 8:40 pm
The Bruins didn’t get the season start they were looking for – but they recovered.
No. 3 UCLA beach volleyball (3-1) traveled to Honolulu this weekend to face No. 5 Hawai’i (2-1) and No. 17 Stanford (0-3). After defeating the Cardinal but falling to the Rainbow Wahine on Saturday, the Bruins took down both teams Sunday.
“We performed subpar against Hawai’i at every position, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen before,” said coach Stein Metzger. “We wanted to come out (Sunday) with a different aura and attitude, and they responded exceptionally well.”
UCLA got on the board in its first match against Stanford with a win from sophomores Chanti Holroyd and Savvy Simo on court five. The other courts followed with wins for a UCLA sweep.
After not dropping a set against Stanford, UCLA won only two sets against Hawai’i.
The Rainbow Wahine opened the match with an early 2-0 lead. Freshman Megan Muret and junior Izzy Carey forced a third set and looked to steal a point for the Bruins, but fell just short.
There was another three-set contest on court one between juniors Megan and Nicole McNamara and Hawai’i’s Carly Kan and Laurel Weaver, but Hawai’i got the win and clinched the match.
Weaver played two seasons at UCLA before transferring to Hawai’i. During her 2016 season as a Bruin, she posted an 18-9 record.
“It was fun getting to play against her,” Megan McNamara said. “She played extra hard against her old school (and) really gave it her all.”
Stanford looked to win the rematch against UCLA on Sunday, but the Bruins didn’t let down.
Freshman Mac May joined the starting lineup, partnering with fellow indoor teammate Simo. The pair won their match on court five to snag an early 1-0 lead for the Bruins.
“We were able to work well with each other because we know how the other person plays,” May said. “Even if the pass was off, we talked really well to get the ball back up and place it well to get the other team in trouble.”
UCLA pulled ahead 2-0 with a win on court three, but Stanford answered, as the pair of Kate Formico and Courtney Bowen defeated Carey and Muret.
The Bruins clinched an undefeated record against the Cardinal for the weekend as sophomore Lily Justine and junior Sarah Sponcil won on court two.
UCLA came out strong in its second match against Hawai’i as May and Simo gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead. Hawai’i evened the score with a win on court four, but UCLA came back, as senior Elise Zappia and sophomore Madi Yeomans took home a three-set win to tie the match.
Hawai’i was victorious on court two to even the score again and leave it up to court one.
In two sets, the McNamaras came out on top.
“We love those close, pressure games,” Megan McNamara said. “It’s why we play.”
UCLA continues its season and looks to face Pepperdine and USC, last year’s NCAA champion, on Wednesday.
“Our goal is to make two people better together than apart,” Metzger said. “I think we’ve done a good job of that and we’re in a good place.”