Traveling to Hawaii this weekend, the Bruins weren’t focused on buying souvenir leis or soaking up sunshine on the beach.
Instead, it was a complete business trip for No. 3 UCLA, who rolled through the Verizon Volleyball Challenge with three wins, against Idaho, San Diego State and No. 9 Hawai’i and no losses.
Through the first two matches, the Bruins dominated on both sides of the ball en route to successive straight-set wins. They won the final match against Hawaii in four sets.
The offense, led by senior outside hitter Rachael Kidder, finally seemed to come together. UCLA had its two highest hitting percentage games of the season in back-to-back nights.
“Our team is running a good offense. Our middles have been getting up quick and opening up seams for the outsides. Just all around everyone’s been playing hard which makes everyone else’s job a little bit easier,” Kidder said.
The defense also enjoyed much of the same success, holding Idaho and SDSU to a less than .200 hit percentage.
“(Defense) has been our focus going into these matches. We’ve been saying we want to play really relentless block defense. Just doing everything we can and going after it on defense and really trying to give it everything,” said senior outside hitter Bojana Todorovic.
The Bruins’ dominance was due in part to their unwavering focus. They came into their first two games as heavy favorites, but never underestimated their opponents.
“I would never say a game’s easy. Any team can come out and play a really strong match. It’s up to you to step up and play your own game as well,” Todorovic said.
Compiled by Chris Kalra, Bruin Sports contributor.