Today, 7 p.m.
Follow GameTracker on uclabruins.com
Saturday, 7 p.m.
The No. 12 Bruins continue Pac-10 play in Washington after their four-set loss to USC on Sept. 24.
The Bruins are keeping their preparation for this weekend’s matches in-house.
Heading north to Washington State and Washington, women’s volleyball coach Mike Sealy has not even started talking to his team about its upcoming opponents and will instead wait until the day before the matches to show film and discuss strategy.
Sealy has stressed that the Bruins’ intensity needs to be at a higher level, and hopes that by not allowing them to get distracted by what’s ahead, they can focus on themselves.
“It’s not a switch that we can flip. “¦ I told the girls, it’s a universal law that you can never get something for nothing,” Sealy said. “You got to do something to create that right to win those games.”
Sealy’s players seem to believe in that.
On Sept. 24 the Bruins lost to USC in four sets. Since then, they have been working on only one thing, according to junior libero Lainey Gera.
“It’s more mentality-wise, we need to get stronger. Physically we are in there, even though people will say “˜UCLA is so short.’
That doesn’t matter,” Gera said.
“We need to get stronger and be ready to fight every single day in the gym and not just on game days.”
Tonight, they will face a tough Washington State team (6-6, 0-2 Pac 10) that poses a few matchup problems for the Bruins. As pointed out by Gera, UCLA does not always hold a height advantage against other teams, and the case will be the same when it stacks up against the Cougars.
Leading the Pac-10 with an average of 5.6 kills per set, which Sealy called “ridiculous,” 6-foot-3-inch junior outside hitter Megan Ganzer will be Washington State’s biggest weapon.
Not only will Washington State pose a threat up front, it can score from the back row as well. This will test the No. 12 Bruins not only at the net with their blocking game, but also in their digging and defensive abilities.
For No. 10 Washington (12-1, 1-1), Sealy has had to get a little creative with game strategy.
“Unfortunately, they don’t have any true tendencies. They seem to be able to set anybody from any situation, which means we need to just kind of sit back and wait to see what happens and react to it,” Sealy said.
Considering UCLA’s organized defensive strategy, this reaction-based defense will not be something it is used to executing.
While they may have to adjust and try something new this weekend, the Bruins know they can rely on their defense, which has been the strongest part of their game this season. They lead the Pac-10 in digs per set with 15.88, and junior middle blocker Katie Camp leads the conference in blocks per set with 1.35.
The Bruins will get notes and study film of Washington later tonight after their match against the Cougars, keeping in line with Sealy’s plan of not letting the team worry about an upcoming opponent.
None of the Bruins seem to be fazed by this plan and instead know that the opportunity to succeed in a conference as tough as the Pac-10 starts in their own house.
“Instead of how big we are and how hard we hit, it’s more of like, “˜How long can we fight for?’” said sophomore opposite Rachael Kidder. “If it’s a long rally, are we going to finish with a point? Or are we going to let it go?”