After spending the entire month of September on the road, the UCLA women’s volleyball team returns home tonight for their first home Pac-12 match of the season.
Last Time Out
After being swept by Stanford, the Bruins needed a win against UC Berkeley and, while it wasn’t pretty, they got one in five sets.
The Golden Bears came out quickly in set one. While the Bruins scored first, UC Berkeley scored the next four points. UCLA closed the gap to just a point by winning three of the next four points. With the score 5-4, the Bears rattled off the next three points to double up the Bruins. From the point, the Bears pretty much controlled the set even though the Bruins worked on chipping away at the lead. Finally, with the score 22-20, Alexis Light closed the gap to just a point again. That would also be UCLA’s final point of the first set as the Bears scored the final three points to take the set, 25-21.
The second set was closer than the first or, at least, the first half of the second set was closer than the first half of the first set. In this set, the teams split the first 26 points and the score was tied 13-13. A 10-2 run by the Golden Bears gave them a 23-15 lead. While the Bruins took four of the next five points, UCLA could not recover and UC Berkeley won the second set, 25-19.
After the break, the third set started just like the second with the teams splitting the first 26 points. But, this time, after UC Berkeley scored the next point to take the lead, UCLA went on an important 4-0 run that put the Bruins up 17-14. It also turns out that it was for good as the Golden Bears were unable to tie the match back up after that and UCLA took set three, 25-23.
The Bruins took an early 2-1 lead in the fourth set before the Bears went on a 4-1 run to take a 5-3 lead. Eventually, UC Berkeley stretched their lead to as many as six at 16-10. That’s when Alexis Light began a big Bruin rally. In all, the Bruins would score 15 of the next 20 points including the final seven points to win the fourth set, 25-21, and force a deciding set five.
Light continued playing well in the fifth set. She scored five points of the Bruins including consecutive points when it was tied 2-2 that gave UCLA a 4-2 lead. That put UCLA up for good. The Bears closed the Bruins’ lead to just a point on six different occasions, but, each time, UCLA stepped up and prevented the Bears from tying the score. But, in the end, it was a bad set by Jade Blevins that scored UCLA’s 15th point to win the fifth set and the match, 15-13.
While Light stepped up when UCLA needed her and finished the match with 19 kills, Mac May also played a crucial role, leading the team with 20 kills and 14 digs. Devon Chang also had a double-double with 32 sets and 10 digs. Zana Muno led the team with 25 digs and Kylie Miller added 16 sets while Savvy
The Ducks come to Pauley Pavilion tonight ranked 20th in the country despite losing both of their matches last week to the Arizona schools including a sweep by the Sun Devils. They are led by senior Lindsey Vander Weide, who is averaging 3.4 kills per set, and junior Ronika Stone, who is second on the Ducks with 3.22 kills per set. Junior Willow Johnson is third on the team with an average of 2.82 kills per set.
Stone leads the team with a .361 hitting percentage. So, finding a way to force her into making errors tonight will be important in order for the Bruins to win.
On paper, these two teams look to be pretty evenly matched and things could go either way. That makes me think that this match will probably go the distance with the Bruins coming out ahead at the end.
This is your UCLA women’s volleyball versus Oregon Ducks open thread.