After a 3-0 victory over No. 22 USC, the unranked Arizona Wildcats carried a lot of momentum going into their matchup against UCLA Sunday.
They found a much tougher battle waiting on the west side of town, but the outcome was the same.
No. 18 UCLA (12-4, 3-3 Pac-12) fell to Arizona (12-6, 4-2 Pac-12) in five sets, pushing the Bruins to 1-1 this week following their 3-0 win over Arizona State on Friday.
UCLA claimed the first set 25-18, with senior outside hitter Jordan Anderson earning six kills and an overall 12 throughout the match.
The Bruins wasted no time in set two, putting as many as seven points between themselves and their opponent. Sophomore right-side hitter Zana Muno fired numerous shots off the hands of the Arizona blockers, nabbing a total of seven kills. The Wildcats failed to close the gap, falling 25-17 in the second set.
After the second set, it seemed like UCLA was going to finish things in three. But Arizona had another plan in mind.
The Wildcats held onto a dominant lead in set three with relentless efforts from hitters Kendra Dahlke and Kalei Mau, and took set three 25-16.
Coach Michael Sealy subbed freshman Madeleine Gates in for senior Jennie Frager as a middle attacker during the third set. The rookie played the rest of the match and posted four kills for her team.
Arizona continued to battle back slowly, and took the fourth set, 25-21. Senior libero Taylor Formico set a new career-high 36 digs on the match.
Sealy applied the same new setup that he utilized during the Arizona State game. By substituting the middle blockers and setters in for each other, the team has Muno playing all the way around and freshman Savvy Simo covering the back row more. Simo had nine digs for the match.
The advantages from the new formation weren’t enough for a victory. The Bruins pushed hard and forced several long rallies, but came up short, dropping the final set 15-12. Freshman hitter Torrey Van Winden led the team in kills, earning a total of 16 kills and hitting a percentage of .300.
Both teams had 62 kills during their battle in Pauley Pavilion, but it was Arizona that came away with the win.
UCLA will begin a two-game campaign on the road to play Oregon on Wednesday and Oregon State on Friday.