UCLA welcomed No. 1 Pepperdine to campus on Tuesday and the second-ranked Bruins not only laid claim to the top spot in NCAA beach volleyball with a victory, they did it in convincing fashion, winning 4-1.

There were four NCAA Division I-II men’s matches on Tuesday’s slate, including Princeton beating Erskine. There are three more matches on tap for Wednesday, including No. 3 UCLA of the MPSF playing host to No. 11 UC Santa Barbara of the Big West.

Skylar Caputo-Pepperdine-Waves
Pepperdine’s Skylar Caputo digs against UCLA/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

NCAA beach
UCLA tops Waves: The Bruins, who earlier beat USC when it was No. 1, improved to 19-3 with their 14th consecutive dual-match victory. Conversely, Pepperdine saw its 14-match winning streak end and is 15-3.

UCLA clinched the match with wins at No. 5, when Izzy Carey and Megan Muret beat Maddie Dilfer and Nikki Lyons 21-8, 21-13; No. 3, as Zana Muno and Savvy Simo beat Heidi Dyer and Gigi Hernandez 21-17, 13-21, 15-11; and at No. 4, when Mac May and Elise Zappia downed Skylar Caputo and Alexis Filippone 16-21, 21-14, 16-14.

“I’m really happy,” Zappia said. “That was a big team effort. That was a big one for us, because they’re No. 1 and we’re No. 2. It’s good to have that one under our belt.”

The UCLA twins, Megan and Nicole McNamara, then won at No. 1, beating Brook Bauer and Madalyn Roh 21-19, 21-11, before Deahna Kraft and Corinne Quiggle salvaged a 21-17, 17-21, 17-15 victory over UCLA’s Lily Justine and Sarah Sponcil at No. 2.

Sarah Sponcil-UCLA-Bruins-beach volleyball
UCLA’s Sarah Sponcil changes direction and stretches for a dig/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

“Obviously that was a battle of giants right there, and we always expect to have great competition with Pepperdine, who’s a powerhouse in the sport,” UCLA coach Stein Metzger said. “We feel blessed to come away with a win today. We understand that they’re going to be tough the next time we play them, and every time after that.”

UCLA is off to Miami, where it opens with No. 7 Florida State on Friday morning. By the time they’re finished Saturday, the Bruins will have also played No. 12 FIU, No. 18 FAU, No. 8 South Carolina and No. 11 Grand Canyon.

“I think we continue to get better at ball control and that’s the hallmark of our team,” Metzger said. “We set well, we’re always working on passing and serving, and I think that the partnerships that we’ve found with this team have jelled really well together.”

A photo gallery of the match follows.

No. 5 Long Beach rolls: The Beach swept visiting No. 13 Stanford and Cal State Los Angeles without losing a set. Long Beach (13-1) is home again Wednesday when Oregon and Saint Mary’s come to town. Click here for the complete Long Beach recap and summary.

Wednesday’s NCAA beach calendar includes No. 16 Loyola Marymount at CSUN for a dual match.

NCAA men
Princeton of the EIVA swept Erskine of Conference Carolinas 25-21, 25-14, 25-21. The Tigers (9-12) got 10 kills from George Huhmann and nine each from Junior Oboh and Parker Dixon. Erskine is 6-16.

There was one Conference Carolinas match as King (16-5, 12-1 ConfCarolinas) swept North Greenville (11-14, 5-8). The 25-18, 25-20, 25-17 victory let King stay a game behind league-leader Barton (13-0). Jeff Sprayberry led with 13 kills.

Also, Coker beat Queens 3-2 and Lincoln Memorial swept Bluefield.

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