UCLA women’s volleyball was outblocked by Washington 7-1 in the first set alone.
“Ultimately, we need to prepare our hitters better if we’re coming into a match against Washington or Washington State, so I’m putting that on us,” said coach Michael Sealy. “We’ve got to make sure that we’re preparing better for who we’re playing.”
The No. 14 Huskies (18-5, 8-4 Pac-12) swept the No. 13 Bruins (13-8, 6-6) on Sunday by scores of 25-21, 25-16, 25-23.
UCLA has not won in Seattle since 2003, and this marks the Bruins’ ninth consecutive loss against Washington.
Washington’s big block held UCLA to an overall hitting percentage of .121. Only two Bruins – freshman opposite Mac May and sophomore middle blocker Madeleine Gates – hit over .200.
Sealy said this was because the Huskies’ right-side blockers, who went up against senior outside hitter Reily Buechler and freshman outside hitter Jenny Mosser, were stronger than their left-side blockers.
UCLA was also forced out of system by Washington’s balanced attack, causing senior setter Sarah Sponcil to frequently have to default to the left side.
“Jenny and I are always going to have huge blockers on us,” Buechler said. “We love setting our outsides – people scout us and realize that. Especially in out-of-system plays it comes to that.”
The Bruins began the first set down 8-1 and never trailed. The second set was even more lopsided, with UCLA giving up a nine-point run in the middle of the it.
“It’s just a lot of little plays, little errors, it’s just plays that we should be winning that we’re just not converting on,” Buechler said. “Washington’s super mature, and we’re just not on that level of maturity yet.”
The Bruins came out of the break to lead for the majority of the third set.
“We made sure to go out there in the last set and stay positive and really use our energy to push forward instead of get on each other,” May said.
Sealy said he thought the team was executing well, but needs to get tougher and stay aggressive at the end of the set.
“Tipping is definitely part of our scouting report,” Sealy said. “I think that we defaulted to too many tips in crucial situations, so we just have to be tougher on those.”