The Bruins didn’t let a hurricane faze them.
After the threat of Hurricane Lane cancelled its trip to Hawai’i, No. 11 UCLA women’s volleyball (2-0) defeated Gonzaga (0-2) in two four-set matches at home this weekend to start the 2018 season.
“We knew early on the day that we didn’t fly to Hawai’i that (Gonzaga was) going to be able to come down,” said coach Michael Sealy. “So we were just thankful we could pick up two matches.”
In their first match, the Bruins outhit the Bulldogs .302 to .193 to mark their 20th straight season-opening win.
Prior to the season, the lineup – especially the starting setter – was highly contested. Junior Kylie Miller got the nod in the opener, recording 21 assists, and freshman Devon Chang took over for the last two sets, adding another 22 assists.
“(I) definitely (had) some first game, first year nerves,” Chang said. “But the whole team is really welcoming and I have a really good time playing with them and they play at such a high level.”
UCLA only trailed once in the opening set Saturday, eventually winning the set 25-18. Senior middle blocker Kyra Rogers tallied five kills and sophomore opposite Mac May tacked on four for the set.
The Bruins grabbed an early lead in the second set, but an 8-0 Bulldog run put Gonzaga on top. UCLA responded and took a 10-4 lead, but Gonzaga came back, winning the set 25-21.
The third set mirrored the first, as UCLA only trailed once. In a 25-20 win, May posted five kills and Rogers added three.
There were eight ties and two lead changes in the fourth set, but a kill by Mosser – who posted 13 total – topped off a 25-22 UCLA win.
“When everything comes together to make that big play, it’s so exciting,” Mosser said. “You realize you can do this like ‘Hey let’s keep rolling, let’s keep doing this and let’s just go at them.’”
On Sunday against Gonzaga, the setters reversed, as Chang took the court first and Miller came in after the first two sets. The two posted 32 and 18 assists, respectively.
“They both rescued each other,” Sealy said. “(Chang) came in did a great job on night one (and) helped us get the win. (Miller) came in (and) did a great job day two. That’s going to happen, it’s a luxury.”
The Bruins battled the Bulldogs in a back-and-forth first set. After a 7-3 run, UCLA took a 20-17 lead and held it en route to a 25-19 win. Mosser led the Bruins in the set with seven kills and a .600 hitting percentage.
The score was tied up 14 times throughout the second set. May recorded seven kills for UCLA, but Gonzaga pulled away at the end with a 27-25 win.
Like the second set, the third came down to the wire as the Bulldogs led 24-21. However, with a 4-0 run topped off by a Mosser kill, UCLA took the set 26-24.
The Bruins held an early lead throughout the fourth and final set, winning 25-18.
UCLA will continue its start to the season, traveling to San Diego to face No. 16 Baylor and No. 14 San Diego next weekend.
“I think this team has the potential to be really, really great,” Chang said. “Every position is super deep and there’s great people all around, so I’m really excited for this season.”