On Wednesday night, the UCLA women’s volleyball team saw its Galen Center winning streak end in a very quick three set loss to the Trojans.
I was afraid that was going to happen, but I didn’t imagine that it would be so easy for Southern Cal.
Last Time Out
The first set was competitive and the Bruins even led 14-13 at one point, but a 10-3 run by Southern Cal that included four kills by Jasmine Gross, three by Khalia Lanier, a pair of attack errors by Mac May and one by Jenny Mosser sealed UCLA’s fate as the Bruins lost the set 25-21.
The second set was just downright ugly. With Southern Cal leading 9-5, the set went from bad to worse was with a 10-0 run by the Trojans. The best UCLA could muster was a 3-1 mini-run that made it 20-8. The Trojans finished the set off with five more consecutive points. Like I said, it was ugly.
After the break, the Bruins showed some signs of life. In fact, they played much better in the third set. They started off strong by winning four of the first five points. But, then, they took their foot off the gas and let the Trojans back in. Before you knew it Southern Cal was up 14-9. UCLA battled back and cut the Trojan lead to three points at 20-17. The Bruins also used a 5-0 run to jump ahead 22-20. The Bruins fought off three match points, but, with a 28-27 lead, the Trojans managed to finally score on a match to win both the set and the match.
No Bruin was in double figures in kills and, in fact, UCLA’s hitting percentage was under .100 in both the first and the second sets. The Bruins’ hitting percetange for the match was a dismal .142. Kylie Miller did have 20 sets for the match while Savvy Simo led the team with 13 digs. Zan Muno added 12 digs of her own.
The Utes come into tonight’s match having swept the Bruins last season for the very first time and, considering how UCLA has played of late, they may just keep that streak alive.
Dani Drews leads the Utes with 180 kills in 12 matches. She is averaging a little less than four kills per set and 15 kills per match. Drews only has a .249 hitting percentage so far. So, forcing her to make a lot of hitting errors could be the key to a Bruin win.
Look for Bailey Choy to be the one looking to set up Drews. Choy has 453 assists already this season. Drews and Choy have combined for six double-doubles each so far.
UCLA also needs to look out for Lauga Gauta as the senior outside hitter from Garden Grove is second on the team with 157 kills.
This year’s team may not be as good as last year’s team was and we’ve seen it in the team’s last three matches. As much as I want the Bruins to end their losing streak to Utah, I just don’t see it happening tonight. I’m predicting a 3-1 win by the Utes.