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No. 4 UCLA Faces Three Top Eight Teams This Week

Mar 3, 2021
Cami Sanchez earned a straight-set win on court four last week vs. No. 19 Stanford.

2021 Information Guide

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LOS ANGELES -- No. 4 UCLA (2-0) faces three teams ranked in the top eight this week. UCLA travels to its crosstown rival to face No. 6 Cal Poly (3-1) at USC's Merle Norman Stadium at 10:00 a.m. PT on Thursday, March 4. The Bruins will also take on No. 3 USC (2-0) at 2:30 p.m. UCLA will close out the week with a home dual against No. 8 California (2-0) on Saturday, Feb. 6 at 1:30 p.m. at Mapes Beach.

Opponent: No. 6 Cal Poly (3-1) Live Stats
Location: Merle Norman Stadium | Los Angeles, Calif.
Date: Thursday, March 4, 2021
Time: 10:00 a.m. (PT)
Series History: UCLA leads 5-0
Streak: Won 5
Last Meeting: W 5-0 (Feb. 21, 2019 at Sunset Canyon Beach Volleyball Courts)

Opponent: at No. 3 USC (2-0) Live Stats
Location: Merle Norman Stadium | Los Angeles, Calif.
Date: Thursday, March 4, 2021
Time: 2:30 p.m. (PT)
Series History: USC leads 12-11
Streak: Won 3
Last Meeting: W 3-2 (March 11, 2020 at Merle Norman Stadium)

Opponent: No. 8 California (2-0) Live Stats
Location: Mapes Beach | Los Angeles, Calif.
Date: Saturday, March 6, 2021
Time: 1:30 p.m. (PT)
Series History: UCLA leads 7-0
Streak: Won 7
Last Meeting: W 3-0 (April 27, 2019 at Pac-12 Championship at USC Merle Norman Stadium)

UCLA opened the season at home with a 3-2 win over No. 19 Stanford on Saturday, Feb. 27. The Bruins then followed with a 5-0 sweep of the Cardinal later in the day.

UCLA's season-opening contest at Long Beach State, originally scheduled for Feb. 25 at the LBSU Sand Courts, was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols within the Long Beach State program. Both schools are working to reschedule the contest on an open date on the non-conference schedule.

UCLA dropped two spots in the AVCA Collegiate Beach Volleyball Poll this week to No. 4 (Week 1 - March 2).

Senior Savvy Simo (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.), a 2018 third-team All-American, has amassed 93 career victories and has worked herself onto the Bruins' top court in 2021, partnering with sophomore Lexi Denaburg. Last year, she partnered with Abby Van Winkle and the duo went 13-2 on the year and took down 2019 first team AVCA All-Americans Claire Coppola and Kristen Nuss from LSU in straight sets in the first meeting in Hawaii in February. Later that weekend, Simo was named the Best Attacker at the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Beach Classic. But then COVID-19 derailed the 2020 beach volleyball season. With an all-time record of 93-25 (.788), she currently ranks fifth on the UCLA career victories chart, needing 10 wins to pass Elise Zappia (102, 2015-18) for fourth.

The Bruins return eight of 10 starters from last year's COVID-shortened season that saw UCLA end the year at No. 2 in the nation with an overall record of 13-2. Both of the Bruins' losses were 3-2 to No. 1 LSU. UCLA also had a 4-1 win over the Tigers in the opening week of the 2020 schedule. However, the Bruins only return four of 10 starters on the five courts from 2019's NCAA title team that went 35-3. Those four starters are graduate student Savvy Simo, junior Lea Monkhouse, and sophomores Lindsey Sparks and Abby Van Winkle. UCLA also only returns two starters from the 2018 championship team that went 40-4, which includes junior Megan Muret along with Simo. UCLA won the 2019 NCAA Championship as the No. 2 seed by defeating No. 7 Hawai'i 3-2 in the opening round. After that wake-up call, UCLA cruised to its second-straight national title with 3-0 victories over No. 3 Florida State, No. 5 LSU and No. 1 USC (didn't drop a set to the Trojans). The Bruins return their court one duo of Simo and Abby Van Winkle from 2020 that went 13-2 a year ago (all on court one). Court two also remains intact and consisted of freshman Lexy Denaburg and Sparks, who went 10-3 last year (9-3 on court two). While court three lost senior Lily Justine (2020 NCAA Today's Top 10 Award winner) to graduation, it returns junior Lea Monkhouse. She and Justine went 10-4 a year ago (9-3 on court three). While court four featured seven different pairs in the 15 duals last year, the pair that was on it the most returns in 2021. That tandem is freshmen Devon Newberry and Rileigh Powers, which went 3-3 on the year (all on court four). The final court also saw seven different duos, but mainly featured Muret and Mac May (graduated). May and Muret went 5-1 on court five last year. Muret went 10-1 on court five on the year.

For the first time in program history, the UCLA beach volleyball program does not have a single player from the Bruins' indoor volleyball team currently playing on the roster. UCLA does have two players with collegiate indoor experience in Savvy Simo (UCLA) and Jacqueline Quade (Illinois).

The Bruins signed four players that are all on the roster in 2021. That class includes Peri Brennan (Laguna Beach, Calif./Laguna Beach HS), Caitlyn Kyle (Hermosa Beach, Calif./Redondo Union HS), Sophie Swett (San Anselmo, Calif./Branson HS), and Tessa Van Winkle (San Clemente, Calif./San Clemente HS).

UCLA has plenty of other talented players competing for the coveted 10-player spots on the five courts. They include redshirt freshmen Jaden Whitmarsh, and Maggie Walters, and redshirt sophomores Hannah Phair and Cami Sanchez.

The Bruins opened the 2020 season in their brand new home, Mapes Beach, on Thursday, Feb. 20 with a 5-0 sweep of No. 8 Loyola Marymount. UCLA has an exciting home schedule this season hosting some of the country's biggest names and the Pac-12 Championship. Slated to visit Mapes Beach in 2021 is No. 1 LSU (April 3), No. 3 Florida State (April 4), No. 4 USC (April 22), No. 8 Loyola Marymount (April 14), No. 9 California (March 6), and No. 10 Pepperdine (March 11). Finally, the Bruins are slated to host the Pac-12 Championship for the first time on April 29-May 2 at Mapes Beach.

U.S. Olympian and UCLA Hall of Famer Stein Metzger is in his eighth season at the helm of the UCLA Beach Volleyball program. He sports an overall record of 162-43 (.790), His 100th career victory came in a 4-1 win at No. 13 Stanford on April 8, 2018. Metzger has been named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year in 2017 and 2018 and was also named the USMC/AVCA National Coach of the Year in both of those seasons. Metzger now has five NCAA Championships to his credit (three as a player in 1993, 1995 and 1996 and two as a coach in 2018 and 2019).

Entering her eighth year with the Bruins and first season as UCLA's Associate Head Coach, Jenny Johnson Jordan is also a U.S. Olympian and a recent UCLA Hall of Fame inductee (Oct. 5, 2018). Like Metzger, Jordan has also won NCAA titles as both a player (1991) and a coach (2018 and 2019). Jordan was also recently inducted into the CBVA Hall of Fame (Nov. 3, 2018) and was named the AVCA National Assistant Beach Coach of the Year on May 9, 2019.

Head Coach Stein Metzger announced on Jan.5, 2021, that UCLA had hired Jose Loiola to the post of Volunteer Assistant Coach. While this is Loiola's first collegiate post, he has been coaching some of the world's youngest and brightest stars for over a decade. He is currently coaching emerging stars on both the men's and women's professional tours. Under his tutelage, Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb placed third overall in the 2020 AVP Champions Cup Series and won The Porsche Cup in August. On the women's side, he also coached Sara Hughes and Brandie Wilkerson to a third-place overall finish in the 2020 AVP Champions Cup Series with a best finish of second at The Wilson Cup in July. Loiola recorded 55 victories over his long and legendary career. He won titles for eight straight years, from 1995 through 2002, including 13 AVP titles in 1997 and seven FIVB titles in 1999. Loiola has experienced success both on the AVP Tour as well as internationally, winning 35 domestic events plus 20 on the FIVB Tour. Among his many wins are the 1997 King of the Beach, 1999 FIVB World Championship (Marseille, France), 2001 Goodwill Games (Australia) and twice winning the Manhattan Beach Open (1995 and 2000). He was an Olympian for Brazil in 2000 (Sydney, Australia), finishing ninth with Emanuel Rego. He won four AVP Offensive Player of the Year awards (1995-98). Loiola was the first player to be selected AVP Rookie of the Year (1993) and then MVP (1997). His first title, an indoor tournament in 1995, marked the first time an AVP event was won by foreign-born players, as he claimed the title with Eduardo Bacil. In 2001 the FIVB chose Loiola and Rego as one of the two best beach volleyball teams of the '90s.

In 2016, beach volleyball was added as the 23rd Pac-12-sponsored sport beginning in the 2015-16 academic year. Now with nine member institutions (Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Utah and Washington) currently fielding beach volleyball teams, the Conference of Champions was the first major conference to sponsor beach volleyball as an official sport. As part of the addition, the Pac-12 will also sponsor a Beach Volleyball Championship for the fifth straight season (should be sixth but the 2020 Championship was canceled due to COVID-19). This year, UCLA will serve as the host for the first time in program history on April 29-May 2 at Mapes Beach.

For the fifth straight season The NCAA® National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship will be held May 1-3 at the Gulf Shores Public Beach and will be hosted by the city of Gulf Shores, Alabama and Orange Beach Sports Commission. The host institution for the beach volleyball championship will be the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Beach volleyball is the fastest-growing NCAA sport with 84 sponsoring schools at the Division I level, which is up from 69 in 2018, 65 in 2017 and 47 in 2016. The addition of the beach volleyball championship in 2016 became the 45th NCAA championship administered for women and the 90th NCAA championship overall. The championship will have an eight-team bracket that will be played in a double-elimination format with teams consisting of five pairs of female student-athletes. After being placed on the list of emerging sports for women in 2009, beach volleyball is the fifth sport to succeed from the emerging sports program.

Tickets to the 2020 NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship are on sale now exclusively here.

Three current UCLA Bruins have been named to the 2020 U.S. Beach Collegiate National Team. The 29 athletes represent a total of 11 universities from around the country. Graduate transfer student Jacqueline Quade joins sophomores Lindsey Sparks and Abby Van Winkle on the team. Players were nominated to the team by their coaches and selected based on their collegiate rankings.

In January, 10 exceptional former student-athletes were honored during the NCAA Convention as the 2021 Today's Top 10 Award winners and UCLA's Lily Justine was one of the recipients. The award recognizes former student-athletes for their successes on the field, in the classroom and in the community. Recipients were recognized during a virtual Honors Celebration awards show on Wednesday, Jan. 13.

The United States Marine Corps (USMC) and the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) announced that the UCLA beach volleyball team has received the USMC/AVCA Team Academic Award for the 2019-20 season. It marks the third consecutive year the Bruins have earned this honor. The Bruins join a total of 1,315 teams from across the country and at all levels to be honored with the award, topping last year's record by almost 200 teams. The award, initiated in the 1992-93 academic year, honors volleyball teams that maintain a year-long cumulative grade-point average of 3.30 on a 4.0 scale or 4.10 on a 5.0 scale.

Graduated senior Lily Justine, juniors Lea Monkhouse and Megan Muret, sophomore Abby Van Winkle and redshirt freshman Piper Monk-Heidrich earned the first Pac-12 All-Academic selections of their careers. Any student-athlete on his or her respective team roster with a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or above, and who has served at least one year in residence at the institution, is eligible for recognition.

The UCLA Bruins are back-to-back defending NCAA Champions and went 13-2 in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, losing only to No. 1 LSU by identical scores of 3-2. UCLA won the 2019 NCAA Championship as the No. 2 seed by defeating No. 7 Hawai'i 3-2 in the opening round. After that wake-up call, UCLA cruised to its second-straight national title with 3-0 victories over No. 3 Florida State, No. 5 LSU and No. 1 USC (didn't drop a set to the Trojans). The Bruins had four players named first team AVCA All-Americans, which included Megan McNamara, Nicole McNamara, Lily Justine, and Sarah Sponcil. The McNamara twins became the first duo to earn All-America honors all four years.


Rank School (First place votes) Last Poll
1 LSU (7) 1
2 Florida State 3
3 USC (5) 4
4 UCLA 2
5 Hawai'i 5
6 Cal Poly 6
7 Loyola Marymount 8
8 California 9
9 Pepperdine 10
10 Grand Canyon 7
11 FAU 12
11 TCU 15
13 South Carolina 14
14 FIU 13
15 Arizona 17
16 Stetson 11
17 Long Beach State 16
18 Stanford 19
19 Georgia State 18
20 Arizona State 20

Others receiving votes: Coastal Carolina, North Florida, Houston Baptist, St. Mary's, Tulane.