UCLA Women's Volleyball
Opponent: Washington State (14-8, 3-7)
When: 7:00 PM PT, Friday, October 30, 2015
Where: Bohler Gym, Pullman, WA
Video: Pac-12 Networks
Live Stats: Washington State Cougars GameWatch
The #8 UCLA Bruins (17-3, 8-2) are in the northwest this weekend for games with the Cougars and the Huskies. The ninth-place Cougars are up first, which means that the Bruins could very well find themselves in second place if they can beat WSU and Washington loses to the Trojans.
UCLA comes into the match with a seven-game winning streak, which includes wins over three top-25 teams. Washington State, on the other hand, limps into today's contest with a three-game losing streak and possibly without its best player, junior Kyra Holt.
The Bruins are not without a key injury concern themselves. Starting setter Ryann Chandler has missed the last two matches, and may be out today as well. If she can't go, freshman Zana Muno will make her ninth start of the season. For what it's worth, UCLA is undefeated with Muno as the starting setter.
Because of their size advantage over most Pac-12 squads, the Cougars have put up good blocking numbers this season, but that size advantage hasn't resulted in an efficient offense. WSU is hitting just .188 this season, which means that the Bruins need to be prepared for longer rallies.
In UCLA's previous meeting with WSU four weeks ago, the Bruins earned a sweep (25-20, 25-18, 30-28), but barely hit over .200 for the match. Jordan Anderson led UCLA with 21 kills, and no other Bruin managed double digit kills. The Cougars were incredibly generous that day, committing 20 errors in attack, 8 service errors, 6 serve receive errors, and a couple of blocking errors. WSU's blockers were nevertheless effective, collecting twice as many blocks as UCLA.
The 2015 Bruins have been remarkably consistent. Unlike in previous seasons, the Bruins haven't dropped any conference games to inferior opponents; their Pac-12 losses have been to #1 USC and #5 Washington. If the Bruins can beat the Cougars today--and they should!--UCLA will likely enter Sunday's match against the Huskies with a one-game lead over Washington and a chance to finish the weekend as the Pac-12's second--place team. That may not seem like a great accomplishment, but considering how strong the conference is this season, it would be a sign of great progress for the program.