On Friday night, unlucky 13 struck again.
Coming into the day, No. 5 UCLA (18-5, 10-4 Pac-12) had swept 12 matches on the season.
UCLA was involved in its 13th sweep of the season against unranked Arizona (13-12, 5-9), but for the first time, the Bruins were on the losing end.
“It was just like “˜What the heck just happened?’ … We were just in a rut. Nothing was really working. That was the first time we played really bad in a long time,” said junior outside hitter Kelly Reeves.
In its last game against Washington, UCLA played one of its most in-sync games of the season. But the Bruins followed that with their least in-sync game of the season against the Wildcats.
“It was just one of those nights you can’t control the flow of the game. Nothing was really going our way. They were playing a great game and we were off. Absolutely everybody, at every position, was off. So you add the two together and it turns into a loss,” said senior libero/outside hitter Bojana Todorovic.
After being swept by UCLA earlier this season, the Wildcats outplayed the Bruins in all facets of the game.
On offense, they doubled UCLA’s hitting percentage, a statistic that shows a team’s offensive efficiency. Defensively, the Bruins had only three blocks compared to the Wildcats’ seven.
UCLA, though, saw their poor performance as an anomaly rather than a serious point of concern.
According to Reeves, after the game coach Michael Sealy told the team, “We are definitely not defeated. Don’t worry about it. Let it go. Flush it away. Let’s worry about tomorrow night.”
With their attention redirected from Friday’s unexpected loss to Saturday night’s match at Arizona State, the Bruins rebounded to defeat the Sun Devils (16-11, 5-9), 3-1.
“The second game we were totally in sync,” said junior middle blocker Mariana Aquino.
Not only did UCLA find its rhythm again, but the team also found a way to correct a few of its mistakes from the previous night.
“We had ups and downs (in the Arizona State game) as well, but we came back a lot faster, and that was the key,” Todorovic said. “We didn’t let the other team take momentum and run with it.”