Tonight, the Bruins continue their Pac-12 road trip when they visit the Stanford Cardinal for a match at Maples Pavilion.
Last Time Out
After the Bruins opened Pac-12 play last week by being swept by Southern Cal, the match against the then-#23 Utah Utes didn’t look promising. Despite that, UCLA managed to leave Salt Lake with a 3-1 win over the Utes.
UCLA started off the first set with a 25-21 win. It was a back-and-forth set that saw the teams split the first 24 points. That’s when the Bruins capitalized on a Ute attack error to start a 8-2 run that included a pair of kills from Kyra Rogers and four more from Mac May. The run gave the Bruins a 20-14 lead. The Utes tried to come back and closed the gap with a 5-1 run of their own, but they could catch UCLA, which scored four of the final six points to take the first set.
The Utes took charge of the second set from the start by going on a 10-1 run right off the bat. That was enough to sink the Bruins’ hopes in this set as UCLA couldn’t get any closer than six points down at 24-18 when a Bailey Choy kill clinched the set for the Utes.
The third set would prove to be an epic battle for control of the match. UCLA started off by scoring five of the first six points. The Bruins stayed ahead for most of the rest of the match and even expanded their lead to 8 points when the score was 19-11. That’s when the Utes rattled off an 12-4 run to tie it up 23-23. UCLA recaptured the advantage when Utah’s Lauga Gauta committed an attack error to give the Bruins their first set point. But, Gauta made up for the error with a kill to tie it at 24 all and Dani Drews gave the Utes their first set point.
The pendulum swung back in favor of the Bruins with Mac May kill and a Savvy Simo ace. Utah took two of the next three points, though, to tie it again, 27-27. Mac May gave the Bruins their third set point with a kill and Kyra Rogers and Zana Muno combined for a block to win the set for UCLA, 29-27.
The fourth set was somewhat anticlimactic because the Bruins jumped out to a fast 5-0 lead. This time, though, there was to be no comeback by the Utes as UCLA rolled to a 25-13 win to take the set and the match.
Tonight, the Bruins travel to Northern California for what is bound to be their toughest match of the season yet. UCLA is facing a Cardinal team that is currently ranked #2 in the nation. The only loss by the Cardinal came on the road against BYU. Aside from those three sets, Stanford has only lost three other sets the entire season and they haven’t lost two sets in any match besides the loss to BYU.
The Cardinal is averaging 14.58 kills, 1.29 aces, 12.55 digs and 3.08 blocks per set and hitting .307 as a team. They are led by a pair of juniors in Kathryn Plummer and Audriana Fitzmorris. Plummer leads the team with 4.49 kills per set and Fitzmorris is averaging 2.97 kps. Sophomore Meghan McClure is averaging 2.74 kills per set.
Tonight’s match is going to be extremely hard for UCLA to win. If they hadn’t just beaten a tough Utah team on the road, I’d probably be inclined to write this one off as a probable loss, but I expected that on the road against the Utes and the team proved me wrong.
The Bruins will need to find a way to stop Plummer, though, if they want to win. I’m still concerned that they may not win a set tonight, but I hope they prove me wrong again.
This is your UCLA women’s volleyball vs. Stanford Cardinal open thread.