After sweeping the Notre Dame Fighting Irish yesterday, 25-16, 25-19, 25-20, the UCLA Bruins will face the #4-seed Wisconsin Badgers this afternoon in the second round of the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Tournament.
Last Time Out
In yesterday’s NCAA First Round, the Bruins swept the Fighting Irish.
In the first set, UCLA only allowed Notre Dame to score on consecutive points three times while the Bruins did that eight times. After the Irish scored first, the Bruins went on a 7-2 run. Notre Dame closed the Bruin lead to just three points when they scored on the next volley and it was 7-4, UCLA.
That was as close as the Irish would get, though they would close UCLA’s lead to three four times.
At 24-14, Notre Dame fought off two set points before Emily Ryan killed a pass from Cali Thompson to win the set, 25-16.
The Irish jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the second set. While the Bruins kept it close, this set was a battle until UCLA went on a 7-1 run with Notre Dame ahead 15-14. That gave the Bruins a 21-16 lead. The teams alternated scoring on the next six points, giving UCLA a set point in this set and an Irish attack error wrapped it up for the Bruins.
After the break, the teams split the first 18 points of set three. That’s when the Bruins managed to score on four of the next five chances to take a 13-10 lead. While Notre Dame would close the gap to just two points six times, that’s as close as they would get and the Bruins went on to win the third set, 25-20.
Mac May led UCLA with 20 kills while Savvy Simo added 11. Cali Thompson had 21 assists and Devon Chang added 20 more. Kelli Barry led the team in digs with 12.
The Big Ten champion Badgers come into tonight’s match having swept their last two matches. The Badgers swept Rutgers in their regular season finale and, then, yesterday they swept Illinois State.
Wisconsin lost just six matches all season. They started off losing four of their first eight matches but, since they lost a pair of home-and-home matches to Washington in September, they’ve gone 19-2. Overall, they seem pretty unstoppable—on paper, at least.
Realistically, UCLA is definitely the underdog here, but the key for UCLA is to get a second set win tonight. If they can do that, then all bets are off and the Bruins could pull off the upset.