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.