The UCLA women’s volleyball team returns to action today at noon when the Bruins host the Arizona State Sun Devils at Pauley Pavilion. UCLA opened conference play on Wednesday when they defeated Southern Cal at home in five sets, 12-25, 25-21, 25-20, 26-28, 15-12.
Last Time Out
On Wednesday night, the Bruins defeated crosstown rival Southern Cal. It was the first match of the season which went more than three sets for the Bruins.
The first set wasn’t a good one for the Bruins as Southern Cal took the first set, 25-12. Actually, it was downright ugly. The Trojans scored 17 of the first 21 points, pretty much removing any chance UCLA had in the set.
The script was flipped in set two when the Bruins began by winning 14 of the first 21 in that set as UCLA went on to win that set, 25-20.
The third set was close early and UCLA led by a point at 11-10, but an 8-2 UCLA run gave the Bruins a comfortable lead. Eventually, UCLA had a 24-15 lead, but the Trojans fought off five consecutive set points before the Bruins finally closed it out after an attack error by Southern Cal.
UCLA could have closed out the match in the fourth set. That said, this set was a battle throughout. While Southern Cal led by as much as four points early, the Bruins recovered to take a lead at 12-11. From that point, neither team led by more than two points for the rest of the set. With the score tied 22-22, UCLA managed to score the next two points to make it 24-22 and give UCLA their first match point, but the Trojans fought off two match points to tie it, 24-24. A Savvy Simo kill gave the Bruins another match point but, again, Southern Cal scored to tie it up. Mac May then gave UCLA their third match point, but the Trojans scored three consecutive points to win the set, 28-26, to force a fifth set.
In the fifth set, the Bruins took an early 4-2 lead, but a 5-1 lead put the Trojans up, 7-5. With Southern Cal up 9-7, a 5-0 Bruin run put UCLA ahead for good and the Bruins went on to win the set, 15-12, and the match, 3-2.
Arizona State Sun Devils
Arizona State is off to a 9-3 start so far this season, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Sun Devils are very good. They’ve lost matches to Western Kentucky, Louisville and Oklahoma and they haven’t really beaten any notable opponents.
So, while on paper, it might look like the Sun Devils should be the favorite in this one, I think that UCLA’s tough non-conference schedule, coupled with Wednesday night’s battle against Southern Cal, should have the Bruins better prepared for this match.
I’m looking for this to be a 3-1 Bruins win.