The No. 6 UCLA women’s volleyball team is riding a wave of momentum, but the athletes aren’t letting their success affect their attitudes or work ethic.
The focus for the team has always been playing its game ““ to take control of the momentum and hold it, to dominate the tempo for the length of the match. The team has had a couple setbacks, but for the most part, they have shown that they are a force to be reckoned with that can compete with anybody.
The Bruins have won seven of their last eight games and remain undefeated at home this season. According to senior libero Lainey Gera, the team’s attitude is positive but focused.
“Morale is pretty high, but losing to Arizona was a reality check for us. All of us came back in the gym, and now we’re just working really hard every day in practice. There’s no days off,” Gera said.
The team can’t afford to rest for a second ““ the Pac-12 boasts six teams ranked in the top 25, four of them still lurking on UCLA’s schedule. The season may be halfway over, but the road ahead is lined with opponents that can’t be taken lightly.
“We have a lot of confidence, but we know there’s a lot we need to work on. I think every weekend, we start realizing more and more the things we need to get better at. We don’t want to let up at all,” junior outside hitter Rachael Kidder said.
Gera earns Pac-12 honors
Gera was recognized by the conference on Monday as she was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week following her performance against Oregon State and No. 18 Oregon this past weekend.
“It’s great to know that your hard work is paying off and getting acknowledged,” Gera said.
The senior posted 17 digs against the Beavers on Friday and topped that the next night with 28 digs against the Ducks, averaging 6.43 digs per set over the weekend. Gera’s play was a crucial factor in the team’s success, according to junior outside hitter Bojana Todorovic.
“She definitely brought her game. She’s a good leader on the court; she communicates to the defense and the offense what’s going on. She’s amazing,” Todorovic said.