UCLA Women's Volleyball
Opponent: Colorado (14-10, 6-6)
When: 7:30 PM PT, Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Where: Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, CA
Audio: Bruin Live Audio
Video: Pac-12 Networks
Live Stats: UCLA StatBroadcast
The Bruins (18-4, 9-3) had their eight-game winning streak snapped on Sunday against the fifth-ranked Huskies on Sunday, and in the process dropped back into a third-place tie with Stanford. The good news is that the Bruins managed to take a set from Washington; the bad news is that the loss is further evidence that the Bruins aren't ready to contend for the conference title. Yes, UCLA may be an upper tier Pac-12 team again, but the Bruins are at the bottom end of the upper tier, and the legitimate worry is that the next step may take them back toward the middle of the pack rather than away from it.
The Bruins host Colorado tonight at Pauley Pavilion. The Buffaloes (14-10, 6-6) are a good example of a "middle of the Pac" team--good enough to be receiving votes in the national coaches poll, but not nearly good enough to be a conference title contender. And although Colorado has a couple of good wins against above average Pac-12 teams (Arizona and Stanford), the Buffaloes have lost to Washington, USC and UCLA already this season. Simply put, Colorado is an opponent that elite teams should beat.
The Bruins may be missing a couple of key players tonight due to injury. Ryann Chandler is still day-to-day, and based on what I've heard, I think it's very likely that freshman Zana Muno will get the start tonight. Muno has played well in Chandler's absence, with a pair of double-doubles on the Washington trip. Jordan Anderson might also miss another game, although it seems much more likely that she'll be back on the court tonight after getting a rest against the Huskies. If Anderson isn't ready to go today, Jessyka Ngauamo will likely get the start in her place.
In the Bruins' first meeting with the Buffaloes, UCLA put Colorado under a lot of pressure with strong serving, which forced the Buffaloes to run a lot of their offense through their outside hitters. The Bruins, on the other hand, passed well, which allowed them to run their middle attack, which they did with great efficiency.
This is a game that the Bruins should win, and it's a game that the Bruins must win if they want to finish ahead of Stanford. That may not seem like a great achievement, but progress is built on small steps, and it's a step the Bruins need to take if they want to become a conference title contender again.