At the end of the second set, the No. 19 UCLA women’s volleyball team was faced with both the opportunity to end their two-season losing streak against No. 10 Oregon, and to work toward their first two-game weekend shutout of the season.
With a 24-21 score, it seemed like an easy task for the Bruins. However, a kill from Oregon’s front row left the score 24-22, and tensions high. Finally, after an Oregon serve, a quick kill from senior outside hitter Karsta Lowe sent the Bruins running toward the middle of the court, hugging and giving each other high-fives. They had finally broken their streak.
With a serve into the net to start off the third set from the Bruins, Oregon fans stomped and cheered. And, despite a loss, UCLA came back to win the fourth set, and close out the game 25-18, 25-21, 20-25, 25-19.
“Overall, starting out we passed the ball well, set great, all the hitters were really, really good, so we were in sync the whole time,” said coach Michael Sealy. “The girls did really good at executing and following instructions tonight.”
Despite 12 tied scores in the second set, 13 tied scores in the third and 15 total lead changes, it was Lowe who consistently broke ties for the Bruins, breaking her previous career-high 30 kills with 33 kills tonight.
“I think we just started each game with a lot of intent, and I think that helped a lot,” Lowe said. “We were firing right from the beginning.”
Senior setter Julie Consani, who played every point in all four sets, also celebrated a season best in assists, topping off with 59 and a .500 hit percentage.
“The best part was just watching everyone get so many kills and being on,” Consani said. “Everyone was together point for point.”
Having achieved one goal, the Bruins look forward to heading back to Crossroads School in Santa Monica to face Oregon State on Friday, and finally shutting out a weekend this season.
Despite breaking their losing streak, the Bruins have yet to win back-to-back games this season. After celebrating the win against Oregon, the team has only one night to celebrate before refocusing on the Beavers.
“Sealy told us enjoy it tonight, and once your head hits the pillow just let it go, because we’re focusing the next day on Oregon State,” Consani said. “We’re happy about this one but we’re going to be focusing on the next game tomorrow.”
Last season, the Bruins beat the Beavers in five sets, but a loss against Oregon the night before meant they couldn’t achieve a weekend shutout. But this season, the addition of players like Consani, who just came off a record-setting performance, means the Bruins could have a real shot at the shutout.
“They’re good, and they’re scrappy,” Lowe said. “We want to get two wins in a row.”