UCLA sweeps Pepperdine at Zuma Beach

UCLA Picks up First Win at Zuma Beach in Sweep of Pepperdine

Megan McNamara-Nicole McNamara-UCLA beach volleyball

It was apparently a rainy and otherwise sleepy Malibu morning for which No. 1 UCLA reserved its most dominant performance of a 2019 season replete with dominant performances.

Just as the Bruins had in seven of their previous nine matches this year, they took all five matches – and, for what it’s worth, the exhibition court six as well – making for their first win at Zuma Beach while delivering No. 2 Pepperdine its first 5-0 sweep in school history, all without a single set being decided by two points or going to extra points.

The tone was set immediately by courts two and four, comprised of Sarah Sponcil and Lily Justine and Savvy Simo and Lea Monkhouse, respectively. Sponcil and Justine took the first set over Pepperdine’s Deahna Kraft and Gigi Hernandez, 21-15, before jumping out to a 16-12 lead in the second. Kraft and Hernandez, to their credit, battled back, to 17-16, when Sponcil and Justine do what they’ve done all season, finishing it off, 21-18, remaining undefeated and one of the top teams in the country.

Meanwhile, on court four, Simo and Monkhouse, playing together for the fourth match of the season, were steady throughout a 21-17, 21-17 win over Pepperdine’s Skylar Caputo and Jenna Tunnell. Simo is now 8-2 on the year and Monkhouse, a transfer from Hawai’i, undefeated at 4-0.

It was the second wave of matches that had the opportunity to present the most intrigue. In their first matchup of the year, at Queen’s Beach in Hawai’i, UCLA’s court one, Nicole and Megan McNamara, went deep into the third set with the Waves’ Brook Bauer and Heidi Dyer, prevailing 17-21, 24-22, 24-22.

Matchup No. 2 would have no such free volleyball, with the McNamaras staking themselves to early leads in both, winning without much stress, 21-15, 21-16.

Meanwhile, Pepperdine’s court three, Maddie Dilfer and Alexis Filippone, had been the first to take a set off UCLA all season, when they competed at the four during the Duke Kahanamoku Beach Classic, hosted by Hawai’i for the season-opening weekend. After court five had been sealed by UCLA’s Lindsey Sparks and Izzy Carey, 21-11, 21-10, over Pepperdine’s Katie Gavin and Nikki Lyons, Filippone and Dilfer were, again, the final defense against the sweep.

Down 15-13 in the second set, Bruin defender Zana Muno initiated the comeback, jump-serving her and partner Abby Van Winkle to a 19-16 lead, making a crucial 6-1 switch. Four points later it was over, as Muno and Van Winkle continued their undefeated seasons, winning 21-15, 21-18.

Both UCLA and Pepperdine will play this weekend during the Bruins’ annual East Meets West tournament, featuring four of the best teams from the East Region – LSU, TCU, Florida State, Florida International – and four of the best from the West – Pepperdine, UCLA, USC, Hawai’i.

Box Score

UCLA 5, Pepperdine 0

Court 1: UCLA Nicole McNamara, Megan McNamara def. Pepperdine Brook Bauer, Heidi Dyer 21-15, 21-16

Court 2: UCLA Sarah Sponcil, Lily Justine def. Pepperdine Deahna Kraft, Gigi Hernandez 21-17, 21-18

Court 3: UCLA Abby Van Winkle, Zana Muno def. Maddie Dilfer, Alexis Filippone 21-15, 21-18

Court 4: UCLA Savvy Simo, Lea Monkhouse def. Pepperdine Skylar Caputo, Jenna Tunnell 21-17, 21-17

Court 5: UCLA Lindsey Sparks, Izzy Carey def. Pepperdine Nikki Lyons, Katie Gavin 21-11, 21-10

 

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