Tonight, the UCLA women’s volleyball team heads up the coast to Santa Barbara for a match against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at 6 pm PT.
Last Time Out
Before the Bruins faced Hawai’i on Saturday, every single match UCLA had played in had been a sweep. Sure, the Bruins brought a five-match sweep streak into that night’s match, but UCLA’s two losses had also been sweeps by the Bruins’ opponents.
So, it’s both a little unbelievable while being totally believable that Saturday night’s match against Hawai’i was also a sweep. Unfortunately for Bruin fans, the Rainbow Wahine snapped UCLA’s five-match winning streak by sweeping the Bruins, 15-25, 22-25, 23-25.
The Bruins just committed too many errors in this match as UCLA was out-hit by Hawai’i, .268 to just .160. Savvy Simo led the team with 10 kills while Mac May only had seven for the match. Hawley Harrer added 14 assists and Devon Chang had 13 while Kelli Barry led the team in digs with 13.
The first set was all-Hawai’i. After UCLA scored the first point of the match, the Rainbow Wahine went on a 4-0 run which put them ahead for good as the Bruins would never get closer than two points down.
UCLA was more competitive in the second set. The Bruins actually led at four different points in this set with UCLA’s final lead coming at 10-9. But a 6-0 Hawai’i run put the Rainbow Wahine up for good as they cruised to a 25-22 win.
The Bruins were ahead for most of the third set but they couldn’t hold on for the win. UCLA was up 22-20 late in the set, but a 5-1 run by Hawai’i clinched the match for the Rainbow Wahine.
So far this season, UC Santa Barbara is 8-1. That’s the bad news. The good news is that most of those wins have come against average competition. Their lone loss of the year came against Colorado while their “signature win” so far has come against San Diego. So, I’m not convinced that the Gauchos are as good as their record indicates.
The Gauchos are led by senior outside hitter Lindsey Ruddins who is averaging 4.75 kills per set while middle blocker Rowan Ennis is averaging 2.58 kills per set. Sophomore Gigi Ruddins and freshman Tallulah Froley are both averaging more than two kills per set as well. Each member of this foursome has a hitting percentage of at least .234. So, they aren’t generally making many errors either.
Tonight’s match should be a good test for the young UCLA team. While I’m not sure which team will win tonight’s match, I will take a stab and predict a sweep based on the results of every UCLA match so far.
If I had to pick a winner in this one, I’d probably say that I think UCSB will take this one due to UCLA’s heavy travel schedule as the team had to fly back from Hawai’i and then endure the drive up the coast to play tonight’s game while UCSB was at home last weekend as well as tonight. I hope I’m wrong.