This afternoon, the UCLA women’s volleyball team heads to Eugene, Oregon to take on the #16 Oregon Ducks. Today’s game will be broadcast live at Noon PT on Pac-12 Network Oregon while it will air on Pac-12 Los Angeles delayed at 2:30 pm PT.
Last Time Out
On Friday night, UCLA defeated the Oregon State Beavers, but it took the Bruins five sets to do it. In the first set, Oregon State scored the first point and the teams alternated the next nine points to tie it 5-5. At that point, the Beavers went on an 11-2 run. You would think that a nine-point lead should have been safe, but it wasn’t. The Bruins chipped away and eventually tied it back up at 23-23. UCLA then took their first lead of the set when they score the next point. That gave the Bruins their first set point, but OSU came back to tie it up again. The Bruins would take the advantage two more times, but they couldn’t close out the set. Each time, the Beavers fought off the set point and tied it back up. With the Bruins up 26-25, OSU managed to piece together three consecutive points to win the first set, 28-26.
The Bruins jumped ahead 9-3 to start the second set. A 6-1 Beaver run cut the UCLA lead down to just a point. UCLA scored 10 of the next 15 points to stretch their lead back to 6. With the Bruins up 21-15, the Beavers went on a 7-2 run to cut the UCLA back to just one again. A kill by Jenny Mosser gave UCLA another set point as the Bruins took a 24-22 lead. But OSU stormed back with four consecutive points to win the second set 26-24.
After the break, UCLA scored the first four points of the third set. The Bruins went on a 5-0 run after the Beavers had made it 4-2. That run gave UCLA a 7-point lead and put the Bruins up, 9-2, but Oregon State went on a 7-2 run of their own to close UCLA’s lead to just two, 11-9. The Bruins managed to keep the Beavers at bay, even though Oregon State was able to close the gap to just a point at 17-16. In this set, the Bruins were able to close it out with an 8-2 run to win this set, 25-18.
The Bruins started out the the fourth set with a 5-2 run. The Beavers weren’t able to tie this set up until 13-13. With it still tied four points later, UCLA was able to go on a 6-0 run to make it 21-15, but Oregon State wasn’t done yet. The Beavers tied it back up at 23-23 and scored the next point to make it match point. The Bruins rebounded with three consecutive points to win the set, 26-24, and force a fifth and deciding set.
In the fifth set, UCLA and Oregon State split the first 12 points when a Madeline Gates kill sparked a 4-0 run by UCLA who jumped ahead 10-6. The Beavers responded with a pair of consecutive points to cut the Bruins’ lead in half, but a 5-1 run closed out both the set and the match for UCLA.
On one hand, the Bruins showed some determination by coming back from two sets down and they even staved off a match point in the fourth set. On the other hand, UCLA should never have found themselves in that position in the first place. They dug themselves into a pretty good hole against a pretty bad team. This match is really a microcosm of what this entire season has been. Too often, though, this team has been finding itself on the wrong side of the final score and the Bruins are going to have to get things figured out quickly because today’s opponent is a good one.
Maddy Gates led the Bruins with 17 kills while Mac May and Kyra Rogers each added 15. For Rogers, it was a career-high in kills. Zana Muno led the team in digs with 29. Mac May’s 16 digs gave her another double-double while Savvy Simo, Kylie Miller and Jenny Mosser were all in double figures in digs. Miller led the Bruins with 51 sets.
When the Ducks visited Pauley Pavilion last month, they stunned the Bruins by sweeping them, 3-0. Since the 16th-ranked Ducks visited Pauley, Oregon has gone 5-3. On Friday night, they lost to Southern Cal, 3-1. Their other losses came against Utah and Stanford.
Today’s match is the one I expected to go five sets this weekend because Oregon has a good women’s volleyball team. I do think this match will be a tight one.
Ultimately, I think it will come down to whether or not UCLA can close out their sets today because the Bruins have had problems closing out sets all season long.
This is your UCLA women’s volleyball vs. Oregon open thread.