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No. 16 UCLA Women’s Volleyball Looks to Notch Huge Victory against No. 12 Washington

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The Huskies defeated the Bruins 3-1 in their first matchup earlier this season.

Joe Piechowski

This team continues to struggle.

After coming away with a five-set victory against Colorado, UCLA women’s volleyball couldn’t produce an encore Friday against Washington State. And it resulted in arguably the Bruins’ worst loss of the season.

Both teams played equally bad, sporting hit percentages of .126 on the night, but Washington State (14-9, 3-8 Pac-12) managed to steal the 3-2 victory after No. 16 UCLA (13-7, 6-5) committed more errors than kills in the final set.

All of the Bruin hitters had subpar performances.

Freshman pin hitter Mac May returned after a two-game hiatus, but played a minimal role, tallying as many errors as kills. Senior outside hitter Riley Buechler followed the same trend, boasting a paltry -.071 hit percentage – the worst of her season.

The lone bright spot was sophomore middle blocker Madeleine Gates, who led the squad with 16 kills and was one of the few with a solid hitting percentage. The Cougars recorded the highest hitting percentage in one set with .235 – not ideal for either team.

While UCLA has already matched its losses from last season with nine games left, it has a chance to rebound with a critical victory against No. 12 Washington (17-5, 7-4).

The Huskies entered conference play as one of the premier teams in the country. Now they sit behind a few squads in the Pac-12 in standings.

Nevertheless, Washington is still one of the more talented squads in the nation and is coming off a revenge victory against USC.

Only two players notched double-digit kills for the Huskies in their first affair with the Bruins –Courtney Schwan and Carly DeHoog. The main aspect that gave Washington the match was its serving ability. The Huskies tallied 10 aces, while the Bruins had just one.

UCLA has showed its potential at times – it defeated a ranked Oregon team – and has showed its inexperience at times. But the match against Washington should determine whether this could be a competitive team in the NCAA tournament or rather a round-of-64-only club.

This is your UCLA women’s volleyball vs. Washington game thread.