Arizona swept UCLA women’s volleyball in their last meeting.
This time, the Bruins swept.
“The last three times we played, it was two different teams,” said coach Michael Sealy. “They graduated a lot of good people, we graduated a lot of good people and we’re both doing the best we can with the teams we have right now.”
The No. 16 Bruins (10-4, 3-2 Pac-12) opened the match with a 5-0 lead over Arizona (7-7, 1-4 Pac-12) and never lost the lead in set one.
Snagging the initial momentum to start has been a key factor for UCLA thus far in conference play.
“It definitely makes it easier,” Sealy said. “The first 10 points, we just made so many miraculous digs and they just couldn’t get the ball on the floor.”
UCLA’s strong passing led senior setter Sarah Sponcil to create an effective offense. Senior pin hitter Reily Buechler and sophomore middle blocker Madeleine Gates led the team with four kills each in the first set.
“Everyone contributed something to the court,” Gates said. “We did a really good job of playing clean volleyball and not making a lot of errors.”
UCLA and Arizona tied eight times in the second set, but Buechler finished it off for UCLA with four service aces and a .533 hitting percentage for the set.
Arizona had its largest lead of the match – two points – at the start of the third set, but UCLA got the win, hitting .361 in the set.
Freshman hitter Mac May hit .462 in the match and recorded six kills, ranking her second for the Bruins in season kills on the season with 148.
“We played the net very well, putting the ball where they weren’t and just taking some rips,” May said. “Our mental game was really good, pushing points throughout the entire match.”
The Bruins were able to frequently stay in system on both offense and defense during the match. Being able to stay both focused and relaxed is when the team plays best, Sealy said.
UCLA will take this mentality to Tempe, Arizona, to face Arizona State on Friday.
“We let ourselves play how we usually play,” May said. “When things got out of hand, we made sure to focus back in and get the job done.”