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Beach volleyball ends weekend tournament with wins over Oregon, Washington

Freshman Rileigh Powers played both of Sunday’s matches on court four for No. 2 UCLA beach volleyball, but competed with different partners against Oregon and Washington. With both partners, Powers took her matches in two sets.(Keaton Larson/Daily Bruin)

Beach volleyball

No. 2 UCLA5
No. 2 UCLA5

By Zoe Willoughby

March 9, 2020 12:48 a.m.

The Bruins swept all around to clinch their final two matchups of the Pac-12 South tournament.

No. 2 UCLA beach volleyball (11-2) swept both Oregon (3-5, 1-1 Pac-12) and Washington (3-4, 0-2) on Sunday afternoon 5-0. Every court in each match of the day finished in two sets for UCLA, as it continued its undefeated streak against both teams.

In their first dual of the day against the Ducks, the Bruins only went to one extended set on court four. Freshman Rileigh Powers and redshirt freshman Jaden Whitmarsh gained UCLA’s second point on court four, defeating Oregon 23-21, 21-6 after court two clinched the first point.

After the win alongside Whitmarsh, Powers was then paired with redshirt sophomore Hannah Phair against Washington, making court four the only one with a lineup adjustment since Saturday.

“(Coach Stein Metzger) can put anyone with anyone and we’ll always do our best,” Powers said. “It’s just good to get other people practice and stuff just so they’re prepared to go in at any given moment.”

Whitmarsh had not played in competition since Feb. 29, when UCLA faced off against Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Phair had not seen action since the Feb. 22 match against Stanford.

Metzger said the switches in the lineup were meant to give some of the team’s reserves a chance to play in case any circumstances change later in the season.

“You never know what’s going to happen down the stretch,” Metzger said. “We’re lucky that we have great players who are reserves and we’re confident in them. So we want to just give them opportunity to get some game-time situations, feel a little bit of pressure so that they’re ready to go if we ever need them.”

Later in the day, the Bruins swept the Huskies on courts two, four and five to gain the dual-deciding first three points for UCLA.

Court one’s senior Savvy Simo and sophomore Abby Van Winkle brought the fourth point and limited the Huskies to their lowest-scoring match against the Bruins of the day, taking their court 21-16, 21-10. The duo tied court five for the fewest number of points allowed against Oregon as well.

“We just really clicked together and our focus was just to come out super hard, try different things and that was kind of our goal,” Van Winkle said. “So we just had a mindset of coming out and playing our hardest.”

This weekend’s Pac-12 South tournament has given the Bruins four more wins to add to their undefeated streak at home since 2016.

“That feels great,” Metzger said. “We’ve been lucky to have great athletes that want to come to UCLA. We’ve built a great program on the backs of the athletes that came before this group. … And we’re in a good spot right now. We just need to stay focused on the prize and continue to get better and better because everyone around the country is doing the same.”

UCLA will travel across town Wednesday to face off against No. 5 USC (5-4) for the second time this season and against No. 9 Pepperdine (2-3) for the first time in nearly a year.

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Zoe Willoughby | Copy chief
Willoughby is the 2020-2021 Copy chief. She was previously a 2019-2020 slot editor and also a Sports contributor on the beach volleyball beat. She is also a third-year applied linguistics student.
Willoughby is the 2020-2021 Copy chief. She was previously a 2019-2020 slot editor and also a Sports contributor on the beach volleyball beat. She is also a third-year applied linguistics student.
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