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Beach volleyball to start off Pac-12 championship with matchup against Washington

Sophomore Rileigh Powers attempts an attack against LSU’s Kylie Deberg on April 3. Powers and No. 2 seed UCLA beach volleyball will begin postseason play against No. 7 seed Washington in the Pac-12 championship Wednesday. (Joseph Jimenez/Daily Bruin)

beach volleyball

No. 7 seed Washington
Wednesday, 10:15 a.m.

Bear Down Beach
Pac-12 Networks

By Nick Darrow

April 27, 2022 9:17 a.m.

Just like last year’s conference championship team, the Bruins will enter the Pac-12 tournament as the No. 2 seed.

Playing up to seven duals in three days, No. 2 seed UCLA beach volleyball (28-5, 7-0 Pac-12) will compete at the Pac-12 championship in Tucson starting Wednesday. The blue and gold will take on No. 7 seed Washington (11-18, 2-8) in the opening round before potential matches against any of the eight other conference opponents throughout the next two days.

The Bruins have faced the Huskies once this year with a 5-0 win in the Pac-12 North Invitational on April 10. UCLA also opened last year’s Pac-12 championship against Washington, winning via a 3-0 sweep.

Senior Lea Monkhouse, a starter in the Bruins’ first-round matchup last year, said developing team chemistry is crucial in determining postseason success.

“We have gotten closer as a group over the season and can lean on each other more, and that will definitely pay off in the long run,” Monkhouse said. “If we play our own volleyball and focus on what we do, then I have full faith in every single one of my teammates to win.”

UCLA will be entering the conference tournament as the defending champions after winning four straight duals to claim the title in 2021.

The Bruins will play six of their 10 starters from last year’s championship winning team, with junior Lindsey Sparks inactive after sustaining a season-ending injury during the offseason.

Coach Stein Metzger said his team needs to change its outlook to achieve success.

“In years past when we won championships, our mantra was to be the best setting and serving team,” Metzger said. “If we can reset and have a mental switch, then I think we will be successful in those areas and ultimately be the best we can be.”

If UCLA can repeat its performance against Washington, it will take on the winner between No. 3 seed Stanford and No. 6 seed Arizona State. The Bruins have played the Cardinal twice throughout the season, featuring two 4-1 decisions in favor of the blue and gold, and they swept the Sun Devils in the two teams’ sole matchup of the season.

Sophomore Rileigh Powers said it is important for UCLA to be as prepared and focused as possible for what is to come.

“We are just going to prepare as best we can, whether that be watching film or just practicing on a few specific things in our last few days,” Powers said. “We are really going to focus on a few specific skills to prepare for the weekend.”

The Bruins will begin play against the Huskies on Wednesday at 10:15 a.m.

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Nick Darrow | Sports reporter
Darrow is currently a Sports reporter on the men's soccer beat. He was previously a contributor on the women's tennis, men's volleyball and men's soccer beats.
Darrow is currently a Sports reporter on the men's soccer beat. He was previously a contributor on the women's tennis, men's volleyball and men's soccer beats.
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