If you were watching UCLA’s football game last Saturday, I feel bad for you. Not only did you watch a terrible football game, but you also missed one of the most exciting women’s volleyball matches of the season as UCLA came back to defeat Southern Cal 3 sets to 2 after being down 2 sets to 1.
While the Bruins scored 4 of the first 6 points of the first set, the Trojans went on a 9 to 1 run to take an 11-5 lead. UCLA would answer with a 5-2 run of their own cutting the lead to 3 three times during the run, but that was the closest the Bruins would get and Southern Cal would win the first set 25-17.
After the Trojans scored the first point of the second set, the Bruins went on a scorching 11-3 run to take a commanding lead. With the score 20-14, Southern Cal mounted a comeback and cut the lead to 2 with a 4-0 run. The teams split the next two points, but UCLA finished the set strong by scoring 4 of the last 5 points to even the match at one set each.
In the third, the teams split the first 24 points and the set was tied 12-12. Southern Cal won the next two points to take a 14-12 lead and, despite being down by only 2 five times, the Bruins just weren’t able to get any closer and the Trojans took the third set 25-20.
At this point, the Bruins’ backs were against the wall. The teams split the first 16 points and it looked like this set was going to be very close. But then the Trojans went on a 5-0 to make the score 13-8. The teams split the next 10 points to make it 18-13 Trojans and things were looking bleak for the Bruins. But they went on a 6-2 run to close the gap to just one at 20-19. Southern Cal scored the next 2 but the Bruins answered with 3 of their own to tie it at 22 all. The teams seesawed back and forth with each team scoring 6 of the next 12 points and the set was tied 28-28 as neither team could break the logjam by scoring on any of the four set and three match points that happened during that time. Finally, UCLA scored three points in a row to comeback from a 28-27 deficit to win 30-28.
The teams split the first 14 points of the fifth set when UCLA went on a 4-1 run to take an 11-8 lead. The Trojans came back with a 5-2 run of their own to tie it at 13 all. The teams split the next four points as the Bruins could close out the match with either of their first two match points. At 15-15, Claire Felix killed a ball to give UCLA their third match point of the night. An attack error by Southern Cal ended the match and gave the Bruins the victory.
Tonight, the team faces the Murray State Racers. Murray State got their third tournament berth by winning the Ohio Valley Conference tournament. Senior Scottie Ingram leads the Racers with 4.32 kills per set and Kristen Besselsen is second at 3.02 kills per set. Ellie Lorenz leads Murray State with 5.32 digs per set.
The Bruins are 22-2 at home and 29-5 overall in first and second round tournament matches since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1998. Considering this and after playing so well with one of the toughest schedules in the country, it would be incredibly disappointing if UCLA didn’t win this match.
#10-Seed UCLA Women's Volleyball (24-6, 15-5 Pac-12 Conference)
Opponent: Murray State Racers (23-8, 15-1 Ohio Valley Conference)
When: 8 pm PT, Friday, December 2, 2016
Where: Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, CA
Stream: Pac-12.com and the Pac-12 Now App