UCLA women’s volleyball hasn’t lost three consecutive matches since 2013.
But after suffering back-to-back losses at the hands of the No. 10 Nebraska Cornhuskers, the No. 13 Bruins (5-2) will look to break their losing streak against the Loyola Marymount Lions (5-3) in their first home bout of the season.
Nebraska trounced UCLA in three sets in their final matchup, winning each set by more than five points – 25-15, 25-19 and 25-17. The poor performance marked the first time the Bruins failed to record 20 points in any set since 2014 in a loss to Washington.
The Cornhuskers were overpowering, notching three sets of three-point streaks in the first set alone. They provided their home crowd with a lengthier encore in the second set, winning seven straight points. A pair of five-point streaks capped off the victory in the third set.
UCLA remained steady around the .230 to .250 range in terms of hitting percentage, but couldn’t manage to reach a .140 hit percentage in either games against Nebraska. The Cornhuskers smacked a kill in nearly every three hits Saturday, garnering a .301 hitting percentage.
Freshman pin hitter Mac May and senior pin hitter Riley Buechler, UCLA’s dynamic duo thus far offensively, were silenced considerably, compiling a combined 28 kills. The only bright spots were sophomore middle blocker Madeleine Gates hitting .353 Friday and senior blocker Kyra Rogers hitting .357 Saturday.
Despite being outplayed this past weekend, the Bruins face a less daunting club in the Lions. However, Loyola Marymount has tested top-tier clubs, taking No. 11 Oregon to five sets and USC to four.
The Lions are riding a three-game winning streak following victories against the University of Texas-Rio Grande, Long Beach State and San Diego State. They lost just one set across the three matches.
Loyola Marymount is a familiar opponent, as both teams have faced off every season since 2013, splitting the series 2-2. Similar to the Bruins, the Lions boast five players with 40 or more kills. They typically rotate more players than UCLA, however, with 10 players.
Heading Loyola Marymount’s attack force are sophomore pin hitter Savannah Slattery and junior opposite hitter Sara Kovac. The pair have hammered more than half as many spikes as UCLA has altogether – they have compiled 188 while the Bruins have 314.
But sophomores Megan Rice and Emma Johnson are also threats at the net, each accruing more than 50 kills each. Defensively, the Lions are formidable at the net, as six players own more than 10 blocks thus far.
This is your UCLA women’s volleyball vs. Loyola Marymount game thread.