By Eric Branch
Daily Bruin Staff
SAN DIEGO – On Tuesday night, the only difference between San Diego State women’s volleyball coach Myles Gabel and General Custer is that Gabel has to watch the game films the next day.
After the third-ranked Bruins systematically dismantled the Aztecs, 15-5, 15-5, 15-6, in a swift one hour and three minutes, Gabel was rather blunt in his assessment.
“That is what is known as a real butt kicking,” Gabel said. “They are a powerful team and they just manhandled us tonight.”
The usual suspects were doing the butt kicking for the Bruins (14-1 overall). Senior outside hitter Annett Buckner had another consistent performance, throwing down a game-high 14 kills and registering eight digs. Buckner also posted a whopping .600 hitting percentage. Freshman outside hitter Kara Milling tallied 12 kills to go along with her four blocks.
“It was a little easier than expected,” UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski conceded. “We usually have a tough time down here, but the team came down and played very well. The long lapses we had over the weekend only occurred in short stretches tonight.”
Sophomore setter Kelly Flannigan received the starting bid Tuesday night after freshman Kim Coleman started the previous match. Flannigan dished out 42 assists to go with her team-high nine digs.
“We played really well tonight,” Flannigan said. “Personally, there are some things I need to work on, but it was a good win.”
The Bruins dominated from the outset, going up 14-1 in the first game before taking it, 15-5. UCLA posted 16 team blocks on the night. The Aztecs (10-5) did not help themselves in the first game, piling up seven hitting errors.
UCLA did not suffer from their typical second game let-down that has marked the recent performances of the Bruins. UCLA blistered the Aztecs with a .486 second-game hitting performance. Buckner spiked down seven kills to pace the Bruins.
“We came out ready to play after the first game,” Buckner said. “Coach said a few things and we kept our concentration.”
The Bruins continued to put the heat on in the final frame against a disheartened SDSU squad, which started four freshmen. Milling was involved in three consecutive blocks during one stretch for the Bruins, combining with senior middle blocker Alyson Randick twice and junior outside hitter Jenny Johnson once.
Randick finished with a team-high nine block assists on the night. The Bruin block was instrumental in holding the Aztec’s go-to sophomore outside hitter Ginger Ernest to 11 kills and a modest .200 hitting percentage.
The match ended fittingly for SDSU, with sophomore middle blocker Kim Krull’s serve on match point falling harmlessly in the left corner behind a squad of uncommunicative Aztecs.