After facing Stanford in Palo Alto on Wednesday night, the UCLA women’s volleyball team heads across the San Francisco Bay to take on the UC Berkeley Golden Bears.
Last Time Out
Prior to Wednesday’s match against the Stanford Cardinal, I wrote that UCLA would need to find a way to stop Kathryn Plummer in order to win. Before the match, Plummer was averaging 4.49 kills per set.
Against the Bruins on Wednesday, Plummer owned the Bruins. She had 17 kills in three sets for an average of 5.67 kills per set. That’s not a recipe for victory, and the results bore that out as UCLA was swept 3-0 by Stanford.
In the first set, the Bruins jumped ahead to an early 8-4 lead, but a 10-4 Cardinal run put Stanford ahead temporarily, 14-12. Six points later, the teams were tied, 16-16. And, then, the Bruins completely collapsed as the Cardinal went on a 9-2 run to win the first set.
Stanford took the early 5-4 lead in set two, but that’s as close as the Bruins would get as they weren’t able to tie the set up at any point. Stanford went on another big run. This time, it was 14-3 to make it 19-7. With the score 24-14 UCLA did manage to make a late 5-0 run, but it was too little, too late as the Cardinal closed out the set on a Kyra Rogers attack error.
UCLA started off well again in set three as the Bruins took a 10-5 lead. But, with the score UCLA 13, Stanford 9, the Cardinal took the lead on a 5-0 run. The Bruins kept it close for a few points, but, with the score tied 14-14, Stanford went on another epic run. This time, it was an 11-3 run to end the match.
UC Berkeley Golden Bears
Tonight’s match against the unranked Golden Bears could not come at a better time for the Bruins. The Golden Bears are in the middle of a three-match losing streak and have dropped their last three matches to ASU, Stanford and St. Mary’s.
Mima Merkovic leads the Bears with an average of 3.12 kills per set while junior outside hitter Bailee Huizenga is second on the team in kills per set with 2.55. But, what worries me about tonight’s match is that UC Berkeley comes in the match with a .231 hitting percentage. By comparison, UCLA is only hitting .206.
In addition to that, UCLA’s opponents have had more kills than the Bruins so far this season while UC Berkeley has killed more balls than they’ve given up.
That said, there would be a big cause for concern if UCLA does not come out of tonight’s match with a victory.
Prediction: UCLA 3, UC Berkeley 1
This is your UCLA women’s volleyball at UC Berkeley open thread.