NCAA volleyball: Top beach teams get victories, USC men snap skid

Maddie Ligon-LSU-Tigers-East vs West-Manhattan Beach-College Beach Volleyball
LSU's Maddie Ligon goes airborne fro a save/Ed Chan,

There was rain and cold, but the top-ranked NCAA beach teams persevered Sunday on Manhattan Beach in the East Meets West Challenge as No. 1 Pepperdine, No. USC, No. 3 Hawai’i and No. 4 UCLA all held form.

And in the only NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball match Sunday, Jack Wyett of USC tied for the most kills of any MPSF player this season as the Trojans broke a seven-match losing streak by beating Harvard.

East Meets West: UCLA was the host team and the Bruins beat No. 5 Florida State 3-2 and then No. 20 TCU 4-1.

“A little nerve-wracking. Anytime you get a win over Florida State, that’s a great win,” said UCLA coach Stein Metzger, whose Bruins went 4-0 for the weekend and is now 10-3.

They clinched at No. 3, when Savvy Simo and Zana Muno beat FSU’s Brooke Kuhlman and Francesca Goncalves 17-21, 21-18, 17-15.

“They’re a great team and I’m glad we were able to put it together,” Metzger said. “We went up early, and when you start to see them close, it’s hard to finish. But nice job by Savvy Simo and Zana Muno to get us the win at the end.”

Click here for the UCLA recaps and results of both matches.

Florida State (9-3) had a tough day, also losing to USC 3-2. And USC (8-4) earlier swept TCU. Click here for the USC recap, and click here for the Florida State summary.

“I think we’re used to playing in rain, because we get it a little bit more in Florida and we still practice,” FSU coach Brooke Niles said. “We bring out the rain balls and in Tallahassee we get a little colder weather, so I think they’re actually more comfortable in these situations than most teams.

“But in all these games you have to grind. Everyone wants to play beach volleyball when it’s sunny and 90 degrees and there are a lot of people cheering you on, but these are the times that matter, when there’s a little bit of rain, bad weather, maybe some wind. We try to prepare them for this as much as we can.”

Hawai’i won twice, beating No. 9 LSU and No. 13 FIU. Pepperdine beat the same teams and will likely stay No. 1 in the next AVCA poll. Click here for the Pepperdine recap and summaries.

FIU had a rough weekend, losing to all four top-ranked teams, including Hawai’i and Pepperdine on Sunday.

“We’ve really come with a solid showing for our team, so that’s very good,” FIU coach Rita Buck Crockett said. “We’re playing 1-2-3-4 in the nation and we’re literally going down to the wire with them.

“It’s a very good thing to see for us, we’re young and still growing. I’m pretty happy with how things are going.”

To keep up with all things NCAA beach volleyball, compiles results from around the country.

And to see our gallery of photos from Sunday at Manhattan Beach, scroll down.

USC men beat Harvard: The Trojans of the MPSF won 25-20, 21-25, 25-23, 28-26 to improve to 5-14, while Harvard of the EIVA dropped to 5-10. Wyett hit .558 and had eight digs and two aces. Lucas Lossone had 12 kills, six digs, five blocks and two aces. Harvard’s Brad Gertsch had 17 kills and four blocks.