On Saturday evening, more than a thousand Bruins chose to pack into the John Wooden Center instead of spending a night out on the town. With a top-ranked volleyball team in town to take on the Bruins, Collins Court was the place to be for all the excitement.
Fans dressed up as superheroes and other characters as the Bruins stepped out onto the court to play their first Pac-12 home game of the season.
On Friday, No. 7 UCLA took on No. 2 Stanford and won 3-2. The next night, No. 1 California challenged the Bruins, and the Bruins once again prevailed 3-1.
“It feels amazing,” sophomore Kelly Reeves said. “Both Stanford and Cal are great teams, and we had the great opportunity to play them this weekend.”
Reeves earned her seventh-career double-double on Saturday against Cal and led the team with 14 kills and 14 digs.
However, this was just an encore performance to her stellar Friday night, where she tied a career best with 17 kills and 19 digs.
The victory against Stanford was not easy, either. The Bruins took the first two sets, but dropped the next two, leading to a fifth set where they prevailed 15-9.
Against Cal, UCLA took the first two sets again, but Cal stole the third set from the Bruins, going ahead by as much as 10 points.
“They served better, we passed poorly,” coach Michael Sealy said. “I think they served pretty easy all night and our passers got complacent, so when they started serving much tougher, we just weren’t there.”
Losing that third set to Cal must have caused a flashback to Friday night’s game for the Bruins, because when they came out in the fourth set, they seized the momentum and flew past the Golden Bears in the fourth set without much of a struggle.
Helping the Bruins close it out was junior Rachael Kidder, who had just 12 kills on Saturday compared to the 30 she had on Friday.
Kidder also had crucial kills in the fourth set, including the last point of the game.
“Every ball counts,” Kidder said. “We just have to keep working hard every day and play every game as if they are ranked one and two.”
The UCLA women’s volleyball team cannot wait until they play at home again in October.
“Being home with a crowd like this is unbelievable,” Reeves said. “The fans were awesome. I love playing here and I hope every home game can feel like this.”