This morning, the #2 seed UCLA beach volleyball team took their first step towards defending last season’s national championship when the Bruins defeated #7 seed Hawai’i, 3-2.
It wasn’t an easy match for the Bruins. UCLA started off with Izzy Carey and Lindsey Sparks sweeping the #5 Pairs, 21-16, 21-9, to put the Bruins up, 1-0. Unfortunately, UCLA’s #2 Pair of Sarah Sponcil and Lily Justine was swept, 20-22, 19-21, tying the match up. Hawai’i then took the advantage when the Bruins’ #4 Pair of Savvy Simo and Lea Monkhouse lost in three sets, 16-21, 21-12, 9-15.
That meant that UCLA needed to win the two remaining pairs to avoid dropping to the elimination bracket. The Bruins’ Pair #3 of Zana Muno and Abby Van Winkle tied the match back up at 2-2 when they won their pair, 21-18, 19-21, 15-10.
So, the match came down to the #1 Pairs. Nicole and Megan McNamara had dropped their first set, 20-22, but came back to win the second, 21-15. After jumping ahead in the third, Hawai’i tied the set up, pushing the set past 15 points. Twice, the McNamaras came back from dual points and they eventually won the third set, 20-18, sending Hawai’i to the elimination bracket and setting up this afternoon’s dual against Florida State.
Of course, you’ll recall that it was Florida State who sent the Bruins to the elimination bracket in last year’s tournament before UCLA worked their way through the elimination bracket to defeat the Seminoles and win the national championship. So, there is certainly a little bit of history between these two teams.
The winner of this match will meet the winner of Dual #7 between LSU and Stetson, which is going on as I write this while the loser will head to the elimination bracket for a match against Southern Cal who eliminated Pepperdine earlier this afternoon.
Can the Bruins advance to tomorrow’s winner’s bracket semifinal? Or, will they have to face the Trojans tomorrow in an elimination dual?
Well, if UCLA wants to stay in the winner’s bracket and maintain the easier road to the national championship match, they will need to play a little bit better than they did this morning. Hopefully, they’ve got the first dual jitters out of the way and make quick work of their dual against the Seminoles, but something tells me it won’t be that easy.
This is your UCLA Bruins vs. Florida State Seminoles Dual #7 open thread.
Go Bruins!!! Bring home #117!!