UCLA dropped to third in this week’s AVCA Coaches Poll after being ranked second since the preseason. That’s because the Bruins are now mired in a three-match losing streak. While UCLA may have been able to hold the two spot if they had just lost to Long Beach State, when you combine the two losses to the 49ers with Saturday’s loss to the Pepperdine Waves, the result is a drop in the poll.
In Malibu on Saturday, UCLA was swept by Pepperdine in three sets, 21-25, 23-25, 20-25.
The first set was tight for most of the set. The teams split the first 10 points with neither team ever leading by more than one point. That’s when UCLA scored two consecutive points to open up a two-point lead, but the teams immediately started alternating points and, ten points later, UCLA led, 12-10. The Bruins broke the pattern and added to their lead, making it 13-10. The Waves came right back and scored the next three points to tie it at 13-13. Four points later, it was still tied, now at 15-15. The Bruins looked to break through again and took a 17-15 lead by scoring on consecutive points. But the Waves rallied with five straight points to go ahead for the first time, 20-17. UCLA would not be able to bounce back from that and the Bruins lost the first set 25-21.
Pepperdine took an early lead in set two when the Waves won six of the first seven points, but the Bruins to tie it, 10-10. The teams alternated the next fourteen points and set two was tied, 17-17. A 4-1 run by the Bruins gave UCLA a 21-18 lead, but Pepperdine closed out the set with a 7-2 run to win it 25-23.
The first fourteen points of the third set resulted in a 7-7 tie, but that’s when the Waves went on a 4-1 run to take an 11-8 lead. As it turned out, UCLA would not be able to come back from that deficit. The Bruins would pull within one at 13-12, but they could not tie it back up and the Waves went on to win the set, 25-20 and the match, 3-0.
Tonight, the Bruins look to get back on track when they travel to Palo Alto to take on Stanford. The Cardinal may be just what the doctor ordered for the Bruins as Stanford is just 3-13 so far this season. So, look for the Bruins to sweep tonight’s match in three sets.
UCLA is hoping to earn the sweep tonight because the Bruins will travel from Northern California to Utah to play #5 BYU on Saturday in what will certainly be another tough match.