UCLA women’s volleyball took six set points to win the first set against Oregon State.
“We should have closed it out,” said coach Michael Sealy. “We made a couple of errors. … We got very lucky at the end.”
No. 19 UCLA (18-10, 11-8 Pac-12) swept unranked Oregon State (21-10, 11-8) on Wednesday.
The Beavers led by as many as four points in set one.
“I think we weren’t as mentally there as we thought we were,” said senior outside hitter Reily Buechler. “We were warming up a little bit slower than we usually do but we ended up grinding and pulling it out, which we should have done the whole time.”
The Bruins ended up leading 24-21, but a kill and ace by the Beavers and an attacking error leveled both teams.
After six ties, UCLA eventually won the set 31-29 with two consecutive kills from Buechler.
“I don’t think there was a doubt in our minds that we weren’t going to win that set,” Buechler said. “It was just executing and playing with more fire and more passion and just being more focused in those really tight plays.”
Freshman outside hitter Mac May said what made it challenging was the tough Oregon State defense.
“They were definitely very scrappy defending us,” May said. “It was difficult to hang in a lot of long plays, but we did a really great job handling it.”
The Bruins went on to take the second and third sets 25-17 and 25-19, leading throughout both sets except for the first three points in the third.
“In the first game, they were serving a lot tougher at us, and by the second and third game we figured it out which was awesome,” Buechler said. “We were passing a lot better, we were creating much cleaner offense for (senior setter Sarah Sponcil) to run and open it up for (sophomore middle blocker Madeleine) Gates.”
UCLA managed to achieve a .301 hitting percentage, hitting .425 in the second set.
Gates led UCLA with 13 kills while Buechler registered 12 kills and 11 digs and May posted 12 kills with just one error. Sponcil produced a double-double with 52 assists and 11 digs.
May said that she was happy with the overall offense.
“When things weren’t really going our way, when they were scooping our balls, we did really well at just taking it back, and taking our time to end the play,” May said. “A lot of the time we just kept recycling and kept placing the ball until we finally got a great placement to go down.”
Leading the Bruins’ defense, junior libero Zana Muno completed 21 digs, becoming the 24th Bruin to surpass the 1,000-career digs mark.
“I think once we started taking care of our ball control, our offense was really good,” Sealy said.
Buechler said she felt that the Bruins got a solid win.
“We started off a little rough in the first set, but then we ended up being more consistent in the next two and made less errors and had more fun,” Buechler said.