This afternoon, the UCLA women’s volleyball team visits Stanford looking for another road win after defeating #20 UC Berkeley on Friday afternoon. The initial thought is that the Bruins would probably get swept since this year’s team has not generally played well against top-ranked teams, but the Bruins did manage to sweep the Cardinal when the teams met in Pauley Pavilion three weeks ago.
Last Time Out
UCLA swept the UC Berkeley Golden Bears in Friday’s matinee, 25-17, 25-18, 26-24. Savvy Simo and Mac May led the team in kills with 10 each while Simo also led with nine digs. Cali Thompson and Devon Chang were in double figures in assists with 20 and 17, respectively.
UC Berkeley started the match by winning two of the first three points, but the Bruins responded by going on a 4-0 run that put them up in the set for good. The Golden Bears did manage to close the gap to just a point at 6-5, but UCLA won three of the next four points and six of the next eight as the Bruins took a 12-7 lead. The Bears were only able to score on consecutive points twice after that and UCLA went on to win the set 25-17.
The Bruins took a fast 10-5 lead in the second set, but a 5-0 run by UC Berkeley tied it up at 10-10. The teams alternated points until it was 14-14. At that point, UCLA went on a 6-0 run. That proved to be enough as the teams alternated scoring on the next eight points which made it 24-18, Bruins. On UCLA’s first set point, Simo hammered home a kill on a pass from Emily Ryan and the Bruins led two sets to none.
The Golden Bears took their first significant lead in the third set when, with the score tied 10-10, they took six of the next nine points for a 16-13 lead. A 6-1 Bruin run allowed UCLA to retake the lead, but a 3-0 run gave UC Berkeley a 20-19 lead. The Bruins tied it back up at 20-20, but UC Berkeley retook the lead on the next point. After the Bears broke the tie, the Bruins used a 4-1 run to take a 24-22 lead. It gave UCLA their first match point, but the Bears fought off that one and another set point to tie the set, 24-24.
A UC Berkeley attack error gave the Bruins a third match point and Sabrina Smith killed the next rally to close out the match for UCLA.
Since the Bruins defeated that Cardinal in Pauley Pavilion, Stanford has gone on a six-game winning streak. Four of those wins were three-set sweeps. Only their two wins against Southern Cal weren’t. In LA, the Cardinal beat the Trojans 3-2 and, in Stanford on Friday, they won 3-1.
When UCLA beat Stanford in Westwood, it was a surprise and the fact that it was a sweep made it more so. I don’t think that the Bruins can expect to sweep the Cardinal again. In fact, I’m not sure UCLA will be able to even win a set today. Though, it’s possible that this one could go five sets. Regardless, I don’t think the Bruins will walk into Maples Pavilion and walk out with a win today.
I hope I’m wrong.