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UCLA Heads to Malibu for the Pepperdine Kick-Off

The Bruins will be spending the morning at Zuma Beach for the Pepperdine Kick-Off. UCLA's opponents today are two of the best teams in the nation: fourth-ranked Pepperdine and top-ranked Southern Cal.

@UCLABeachVB

#3 UCLA Beach Volleyball (2-0)

Pepperdine Kick-Off

Opponent 1: #4 Pepperdine (0-0)

When: 10:00 AM PT, Saturday, March 4, 2017

Opponent 2: #1 Southern Cal (0-0)

When: 11:15 AM PT, Saturday, March 4, 2017

Where: Zuma Beach, Malibu, CA

Streaming Video: FloVolleyball ($)

Tournament Preview

The Bruins began their 2017 campaign on Thursday with a pair of victories at Pismo Beach. UCLA will be back at the beach this morning for another pair of matches. This time, though, the Bruins are heading to Zuma Beach for the Pepperdine Kick-Off and insteda of facing a pair of unranked teams, UCLA will battle two of the nation's best: the fourth-ranked Waves and the top-ranked Trojans.

UCLA looked sharp from the opening serve on Thursday against CSU Bakersfield. Megan and Nicole McNamara had no trouble earning a 21-13, 21-9 sweep on court 1, and the rest of the UCLA pairs followed suit. Kamila Tan's new partner is freshman Madi Yeomans, and the pair looked great in their 21-6, 21-13 victory on court 2.

Torrey Van Winden and Savvy Simo--a pair of freshmen from Coach Sealy's squad--combined for a 21-9, 21-6 sweep on court 3, and the returning partnership of Izzy Carey and Elise Zappia made quick work of the court 4 matchup, winning 21-8, 21-5. The final UCLA duo consisting of freshman Chanti Holroyd and Lily Justine completed the shutout with a 21-10, 21-19 sweep on court 5.

The Bruins were almost as dominant in the second match of the day against Cal Poly. As expected, the McNamaras led the way with a 21-15, 21-11 sweep on court 1, and Yeomans/Tan earned a relatively comfortable sweep on the second court, 21-16, 21-15.

Van Winden/Simo nearly replicated the performance on court 2 with a 21-15, 21-16 victory over Cal Poly's #3 team, and Carey/Zappia were able to grind out a 21-19, 21-13 win on court 4.

The only negative on the day was the inability of Holroyd and Justine to win a set against Cal Poly's #5 pairing. Holroyd and Justine came close, but were edged in both sets by a score of 19-21.

It goes without saying that the Bruins face a substantially more difficult challenge today. The Waves have another strong team this season and have a great tradition in beach volleyball. Pepperdine returns eight starters from last year's squad, including AVCA All-American Heidi Dyer. Additionally, the Waves placed three players on the All-West Coast Conference First Team last season, two of whom return: Kaity Bailey and Madalyn Roh. Four other returning players earned either All-West Coast Conference Second Team or WDD All-Freshman Team honors. In short, the Waves are both strong and deep.

Of course, as the reigning national champions, the Trojans will give UCLA the ultimate test. Southern Cal is the AVCA preseason #1 and begins the new season with a 30 match winning streak. USC's top duo of Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes are 92-3 over their three-year partnership, and the team of Nicolette Martin and Allie Wheeler isn't far behind at 91-14. Worst of all, the Trojans have never lost a match against the Bruins, so UCLA will be hoping to make history today.

The Bruins have a young but talented squad this season with plenty of potential. Today will provide a good gauge of how close UCLA is to contending for a national championship in 2017.

Go BRUINS! Beat SC!