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UCLA beach volleyball snags 4th tournament sweep at Pac-12 North Invitational

Graduate student Abby Van Winkle spikes the ball over the net. Van Winkle and junior Peri Brennan are undefeated across the season with a record of 17-0. (Brandon Morquecho/Daily Bruin)

Beach Volleyball

No. 4 UCLA5
No. 9 California0
No. 4 UCLA4
No. 10 Stanford1
No. 4 UCLA3
No. 13 Washington2
No. 4 UCLA4

By Rahaf Abumansour

April 9, 2023 9:58 p.m.

Four back-to-back victories gave the Bruins their fourth tournament sweep of the season.

No. 4 UCLA beach volleyball (26-2, 7-0 Pac-12) began the Pac-12 North Invitational with two victories over No. 9 California (21-6, 3-1) and No. 10 Stanford (20-9, 3-4) on Friday by scores of 5-0 and 4-1, respectively. The Bruins capped off the weekend notching two more conference victories over No. 13 Washington (14-12, 2-1) by 3-2 and Arizona (18-6, 3-2) by 4-1.

Junior Peri Brennan and graduate student Abby Van Winkle gave the Bruins an early advantage on court two. After their weekend victories, the pair now holds an undefeated 17-0 record across the season.

Despite falling behind and losing the first set against California 19-21, junior Tessa Van Winkle and sophomore Jessie Smith came back, winning two straight sets to claim the match.

In their contest against Arizona, Smith and graduate student Marlie Monserez won both sets 21-17 and 21-13.

The key to these wins is setting, according to Smith.

“One of the most important skills is passing and setting, so if we can control that, then we can play anytime,” Smith said.

Freshman Maggie Boyd, who is preparing for her first Pac-12 championship, echoed Smith while stressing the importance of the initial serves in play.

“One of the skills I rely on is aggressive serving and disrupting the other team’s system,” Boyd said.

The tournament comes three weeks before the beginning of playoffs commencing April 26 with the Pac-12 Championship.

As the season comes to an end, coach Stein Metzger emphasized the importance of maintaining a good mentality while playing through fatigue.

“We are playing a lot, and there is some fatigue that comes with that, but we need to show out for every game,” said Metzger.

The Bruins will return to play next week at the Center of Effort Challenge in San Luis Obispo on Friday when they will take on No. 18 Pepperdine and No. 1 TCU – the only undefeated team in the nation – at 11:15 a.m. and 4:15 p.m., respectively. On Saturday, UCLA will face Cal Poly for the second time this season at 11:30 a.m. to finish the tournament.

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Rahaf Abumansour
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