Wednesday, January 29

Beach volleyball looks to maintain 21-game undefeated streak in upcoming matches

Senior Sarah Sponcil and her partner junior Lily Justine have been a pair for 20 of UCLA beach volleyball's 21 duels so far this season. The duo is 19-1 after dropping its only match to FIU on March 9. (Alice Naland/Daily Bruin)

Beach volleyball

Loyola Marymount
Wednesday, 12:00 p.m

Sunset Canyon Recreation Center
Pac-12 Networks
Wednesday, 3:00 p.m

Sunset Canyon Recreation Center
Pac-12 Networks

The Bruins are still undefeated with eight matches left in the regular season.

“To be honest, I think (our chances of going undefeated this season) are good, but it’s not really something we talk about,” said coach Stein Metzger.

No. 1 UCLA beach volleyball (21-0) will host No. 13 Loyola Marymount (17-7) and No. 2 USC (16-3) at Sunset Canyon Recreation Center on Wednesday. The Bruins have defeated each team once already this season, but the Trojans are the only opponent to win on two courts against UCLA.

The Bruins handed the Trojans their first loss of the season Feb. 27. But the 3-2 victory was the closest dual UCLA has competed in this season.

“With USC, no matter who is winning or who has a better record, it’s about whoever shows up that day,” said senior Zana Muno. “I think they’ll play their best match and we’ll play ours.”

Seniors Nicole and Megan McNamara dropped their only match of the year to USC’s Abril Bustamante and Tina Graudina. The court one duo has since posted an 18-1 record, stringing together 15 consecutive straight-set wins.

The Bruins also suffered a loss on court three in the last meeting with the Trojans, when sophomore Mac May and junior Savvy Simo fell 21-15, 19-21, 15-12.

But UCLA’s lineup has changed since that match.

“I didn’t play last time against USC,” Muno said. “Our threes, fours and fives were a different lineup, so I think that we’ll have that consistency going into this match. Also, it’ll be on our own home court which I think will be a huge advantage for us.”

Muno sat out due to illness in the last match against the Trojans, but has played almost every other game on court three with freshman Abby Van Winkle. The pair is the only regular duo that is undefeated this season, running an 19-0 record.

The Bruins have also formed new pairs on courts four and five since the last match with USC. Simo has been paired with sophomore transfer Lea Monkhouse for 13 of the last 14 matches, and freshman Lindsey Sparks replaced sophomore Megan Muret alongside of senior Izzy Carey on court five.

Simo and Monkhouse are 10-3 as a pair, and Carey and Sparks suffered their only loss against No. 3 Florida State last weekend.

The Bruins swept the Lions without dropping a set in their first meeting this season last Tuesday. UCLA has won its last seven matches with LMU, running a 9-2 all time record against the Lions.

UCLA will face LMU at 12 p.m. and USC at 3 p.m.

“We all individually, as teams, have things we want to improve on, but I think taking it one point at a time is the best thing we’ve learned this weekend, and being patient,” said senior Sarah Sponcil. “The more patient we are, and the more we trust each other and communicate, the better chance we have against USC because they’re a really good opponent.”

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Assistant Sports editor

Dzwonczyk is currently an assistant Sports editor for the women's basketball, women's soccer, beach volleyball, men's golf and women's golf beats. She was previously a reporter on the women's soccer, beach volleyball and women's tennis beats.

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