By Jamie Plunkett
Frogs Today staff writer
Beating the No. 1 team in the country takes an incredible effort. Doing so on their home turf is even more impressive. That’s exactly what No. 2 TCU beach volleyball did Thursday, taking down No. 1 UCLA in Los Angeles, 4-1.
The Frogs are now the lone undefeated team in the nation, sitting at a perfect 26-0.
“Huge congratulations to the team and everyone supporting us today.” TCU coach Hector Gutierrez said, “Today was no easy task, it was beat No. 1 at their court. I’m at a loss for words. I never had doubt in my mind that we weren’t ready to do it.”
Sutton MacTavish and Kaylie McHugh kicked things off on court two for the Frogs, winning in straight sets 21-15, 22-20. TCU’s lead expanded to 2-0 with a three set thriller on court four, where Maria Gonzales and Ana Vergara won 21-14, 19-21, 15-12.
Megan Muret and Rochelle Scott sealed the victory on court five, winning in straight sets 21-15, 21-18.
For Muret the victory had extra motivation. She spent her entire undergraduate career at UCLA, winning two national championships with the Bruins, before transferring to TCU as a graduate transfer.
“It was really fun to be able to play back at Mapes Beach,” Muret said. “Overall, I was so proud of how our team came out with so much energy and really dominated right from the start. Every court you could just see how hard every team was playing and how hard our teammates were cheering. It was so great to have that energy from them on the sidelines. So many of them have already lost their voices. It was really awesome to see all the hard work really come together and I’m excited for more matches this weekend.”
As is customary in beach volleyball, the remaining two games were played out even though TCU had already won. The Frogs and Bruins split the remaining games to reach the 4-1 final.
TCU took down UCLA shortly after beating No. 9 Hawaii in a comeback effort. The Frogs got on the board first thanks to a Hailey Hamlett and MacTavish win in straight sets, 21-15, 21-13. The Beachbows then pulled out to a 2-1 lead thanks to strong showings from duos Jaime Santer and Megan Widener on court four, 18-21, 21-16, 15-10, and Brooke Van Sickle and Kaylee Glagau on court one, 21-16, 21-18.
Muret and Rochelle Scott evened things up at 2-2, in spite of losing their first set 13-21. Muret and Scott won their final two sets in nail biting fashion, 25-23, 15-12.
Seniors Alexis Filippone and Hailey Brockett also had to come back from a set dow, but pulled it off to seal the victory for the Frogs 17-21, 21-14, 15-9.
“It is no surprise that we are able to compete at this level.” Gutierrez said, ” The girls have proved to themselves that they deserve the chance to be the best in the country and we proved it today.”
TCU continues their appearance in the Mapes Beach Invitational on Saturday with matches against No. 5 Loyola Marymount and a rematch with No. 1 UCLA, before rounding out their trip on Sunday with a match against No. 3 USC.