The rivalry is as intense as ever, but for now, UCLA holds the upper hand in NCAA beach volleyball. The top-ranked Bruins went 2-0 on its campus Wednesday, first sweeping injury-plagued No. 6 Long Beach State and then getting past its fiercest rival, No. 4 USC, 3-2.
The beach scene is quiet Thursday, but the top two teams in the MPSF are in action in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball as second-ranked BYU (19-5, 9-1 MPSF) goes to red-hot No. 4 Pepperdine (14-6, 7-3) — the Waves have won four in a row — and No. 5 UCLA (20-6, 7-3) plays host to Stanford (6-17, 3-7).
With the NCAA Championships in Gulf Shores, Ala., less than a month away, UCLA won its 20th and 21st matches in a row on a day when it honored its seniors. The Bruins (26-3) clinched against USC by winning at Nos. 5, 4 and 2, but then USC’s No. 1 of Abril Bustamante and Tina Graudina beat UCLA twins Megan and Nicole McNamara 16-21, 21-17, 16-14 and at No. 3 Joy Dennis and Haley Hallgren beat Zana Muno and Savvy Simo 21-19, 17-21, 15-8.
UCLA secured the victory when its No. 2 of Lily Justine and Sarah Sponcil beat Terese Cannon and Sammy Slater 21-15, 21-17.
USC is 17-8, while Long Beach State is 18-4. Click here for UCLA’s recap and summaries of both matches.
Also Wednesday, No. 17 Stetson (20-6) took a doubleheader from visiting Florida Gulf Coast, 3-2 and 5-0 to go 6-0 in the ASUN. FGCU dropped to 9-8, 4-2. Click here for the Stetson recap and summaries.
And No. 19 Tulane improved to 14-0 overall with two victories over visiting Louisiana-Monroe. The Green Wave won 5-0 and 4-1. Click here for the Tulane recap and summaries.
A photo gallery from the matches at UCLA by VolleyballMag.com’s Ed Chan follows: