Tonight, the UCLA women’s volleyball team returns home to face the UC Berkeley Golden Bears at Pauley Pavilion at 7 pm PT.
Last Time Out
The Washington State Cougars snapped UCLA’s four-match winning streak on Sunday when the Cougs swept the Bruins in three sets.
The Bruins jumped out to an early lead and led for most of the set, stretching their lead to as many as 5 points at 16-11. But, then, UCLA fell apart when Washington State scored 14 of the final 20 points to take the first set 25-22.
UCLA’s only lead of the second set came at 2-1. That’s when the Cougars went on a 6-0 run and they never looked back. From that point, UCLA couldn’t get any closer than 3 points down on multiple occasions as Washington State took the second set, 25-20.
In the third set, the teams battled through the first half of the set and were tied 14-14 after 28 points. After the Cougars took a 15-14 lead, UCLA pushed ahead with a 4-0 run, giving them their biggest lead of the set. But, then the Bruins collapsed again by allowing Washington State to score 10 of the next 13 points as the Cougars cruised to a 25-21 win in set three to complete the sweep of the Bruins.
Overall, this match was pretty ugly. The Bruins faltered at a time when they had played four of their best matches of the season.
The good news is that, tonight, the team returns home to the friendly confines of Pauley Pavilion to face the UC Berkeley Golden Bears.
UC Berkeley Golden Bears
After being swept by Washington State, UC Berkeley may just be the opponent that the Bruins need to face. Since the Bruins visited Berkeley a month ago, the Golden Bears have gone 3-4 while UCLA has gone 4-2.
That said, you could argue that the Bears are a better team than the Bruins faced a month ago. That’s because the Bears have won three of the last five matches. That includes road wins against both Utah and Oregon State and a home win against the same Cougar squad who swept the Bruins last weekend.
Not much has changed statistically since the last meeting. The Bruins have raised their hitting percentage a little since then and that’s probably attributable to UCLA’s four-match winning streak during which they only lost one set.
With tonight’s match in Westwood instead of Berkeley, it shouldn’t go to five sets this time, but I do think that the Bears will win one set tonight. So, I’m predicting a 3-1 win for the Bruins.
This is your UCLA women’s volleyball vs. UC Berkeley open thread.