After defeating two ranked teams last weekend in San Diego, the #9 UCLA women’s volleyball team heads north on the 101 for a pair of games against the #22 Cal Poly Mustangs at Mott Gym in San Luis Obispo.
Last Time Out
On Sunday, the Bruins took on the USD Toreros and, while it wasn’t easy, they still came away with the 3-2 win. UCLA dropped the first set 21-25. After the Bruins took early 3-2 lead, San Diego surged back with a 7-1 run and lead 9-4. The Toreros would continue to lead until, with the score 16-19, the Bruins used a 3-0 mini-run to tie the set up. But, San Diego took six of the final eight points to take Set One.
With Set Two tied 2-2-, the Bruins used another 3-0 mini-run, highlighted by a pair of kills from Mac May to jump ahead 5-2. UCLA would stretch that to a five-point lead at 15-10 and to a seven-point lead at 20-13 before finally finishing off the set 25-17.
After the break, Set Three was all-Bruins. UCLA took a 2-1 lead early and just kept pushing their lead. Even though there were multiple times when the Toreros got within a point, UCLA managed to stretch their lead back out. First, they made it 6-2. When USD closed it to 7-6, the Bruins went on a 10-3 run to make it 17-9. UCLA took three of the next four points to push the Bruin lead to 10 at 20-10. After USD narrowed the lead to eight, the Bruins finished the set with a 5-1 run to take Set Three 25-13.
The Toreros seemed to capture the momentum back in Set Four. With the Bruins leading 3-2, USD scored six straight points to take an 8-3 lead. But the Bruins used an 8-3 run at 12-7 to chip away at the Torero lead and tie the set up, 15-15. Unfortunately, USD used a 10-4 run to close out the set, 25-19, to force a fifth and deciding set.
WIth Set Four tied 3-3, the Bruins managed to score on consecutive points. The first came on a San Diego service error while the second came on a San Diego attack error. While the Toreros closed the gap to just a point on four different occasions, they were never able to tie it and UCLA won the set 15-11, giving them the victory.
Overall, this wasn’t a very well played match by either team as USD and UCLA both finished with a hitting percentage under .200. The Toreros hit .151 for the match while the Bruins only hit .191. UCLA’s best two sets hitting percentage-wise were Sets Three and Set Five when they hit .258 and .346, respectively. Meanwhile, the Toreros only broke .200 in Set Four when they hit .359 and Set Five when they hit .304.
As the Bruins head north for matches tonight and tomorrow against another ranked team, they will need to clean up their game.
UCLA had two players record double-doubles in this one. Madeline Gates had 13 kills and 11 blocks while freshman Devon Chang had 52 assists and 16 digs. Jenny Mosser also had 13 kills while Mac May led all players with 14 kills. In addition to Chang, Zana Muno had 15 digs while Savvy Simo led the Bruins with 20.
Cal Poly Mustangs
The Cal Pol Mustangs are led someone who is familiar to UCLA fans. Former Bruin junior Torrey Van Winden leads the Mustangs with 93 kills, almost one-third of their total. As you may recall, Van Winden transferred after her freshman season in order to play with her older sister senior Adlee Van Winden, who is second on the team in both kills and digs. The elder Van Winden has 63 kills and 54 digs.
The key to winning this pair of matches is to shut down the Van Windens, but it won’t be an easy task. Cal Poly is 5-1 to start the season. Their only loss so far this season was at the Panther Invitational to host school Pitt.
I have a feeling that expecting UCLA to win both of these matches on the road after going five sets against both Baylor and San Diego last weekend might be a little bit much, but a split here is definitely possible.