With their backs to the proverbial wall, the UCLA Beach Volleyball team delivered today.
Against LSU, the Bruins won the first set on all five courts, meaning that another set win by three of the five pairs would end the match and allow UCLA to advance to Dual #12 against Southern Cal.
That is exactly what happened.
Lily Justine and Sarah Sponcil were the first pair to win their match, 21-10, 21-8, and earn a point for the Bruins.
The court three pairing of Zana Muno and Savvy Simo closed out their match next, 21-13, 21-15.
Then, Megan and Nicole McNamara defeated Claire Coppola and Kristen Nuss on court one, 21-10, 21-17, to close out the dual and allow the Bruins to advance to face the Trojans.
In the day’s second dual, UCLA went up against the Two-time defending NCAA national champion Southern Cal Trojans. The good news is that there will not be a three-peat.
That’s because the Bruins beat the Trojans, 3-1.
UCLA started this dual just like they did against LSU. They won the first set on all five courts.
That made it much easier for the Bruins to defeat the Trojans because all UCLA needed to do was win one more set on three of the five courts to win the dual.
Muno and Simo did that first on court three when they won their match, 21-17, 21-18. But the Trojans won the second set on the remaining four courts.
That forced those courts to a deciding 15-point third set.
Izzy Carey and Megan Muret were able to win their third set and their match next. They finished with scores of 21-18, 15-21 and 15-10. That win gave UCLA a 2-0 lead and the Bruins needed to win just one more match of the remaining three.
The Trojan court two pair of Terese Cannon and Sammy Slater made things interesting by defeating Justine and Sponcil, 19-21, 21-16, 15-10, to make it 2-1.
On court one, the McNamaras’ third set went beyond 15 point because of the need to win by two and Southern Cal’s Abril Bustamante and Tina Graudina kept tying the set up when they were down by one.
As their third set was tied 17-17, Mac May and Elise Zappia won their match on court four, 21-18, 15-21, 15-9. That gave the Bruins a 3-1 win over the Trojans and advanced UCLA to Championship Sunday.
Tomorrow, UCLA will face Hawai’i, which lost to Florida State this afternoon, 3-2. The Bruins and the Sandbows will meet at 8:30 am PT. As long as UCLA wins that dual, they will advance to the National Championship Dual at 11 am PT against Florida State.
Because the tournament is double-elimination until the final match, UCLA would not have to beat Florida State twice to win the national championship.