Women’s volleyball sweeps Arizona State with strong offensive effort
Middle blocker Kyra Rogers posted a hitting percentage of .429 in UCLA’s sweep of Arizona State Saturday. The junior recorded eight kills, two solo blocks and two block assists. (Amy Dixon/Assistant Photo editor)
Nov. 5, 2017 1:23 p.m.
The Bruins said their focus was on executing a strong offense.
And they did just that.
No. 18 UCLA women’s volleyball (15-8, 8-6 Pac-12) swept Arizona State (10-16, 0-14) on Saturday, hitting .366 against the Sun Devils’ .204.
Coach Michael Sealy said the key to the win was staying in system offensively.
“We were real intentional this week,” Sealy said. “It was not only setting a good ball, but (senior setter) Sarah (Sponcil), and the rhythm of how she sets the ball to make sure the offense could get synced up with her.”
The Bruins’ offense was led by senior outside hitter Reily Buechler who posted 12 kills on the night, along with freshman opposite Mac May, sophomore middle blocker Madeleine Gates and junior middle blocker Kyra Rogers who all hit over .400.
There were seven ties in the opening set, but UCLA led throughout the remainder of the set, winning 25-16. Gates hit a perfect 1.000 in the set and Buechler and Rogers hit .571 and .600, respectively.
Everything was going right for UCLA from the start, Rogers said.
“Our passing was amazing, so we were able to run our offense that we’ve been working on,” Rogers said. “We were just really aggressive throughout the whole game and continued to push even when we were up.”
The Sun Devils got as close as two points in set two, but the Bruins came back to score six straight with two kills each from Gates and Buechler and took the set 25-16.
Buechler said the team continued to have control even when Arizona State looked to make a comeback.
“We were super aggressive no matter what the score was,” Buechler said. “It was fun to play with the girls when they had that intention of going after a team and not stopping.”
In the middle of the second set, opposite Oluoma Okaro, who leads the Sun Devils with 400 kills on the season, left the match with an injury.
Sealy said it took some pressure off UCLA having Arizona State lose its strongest offensive player, but the Bruins didn’t let down.
Arizona State got within one multiple times in set three, but UCLA took the set 25-21 and the match.
A team total of nine blocks, five tallied by Gates and four by Rogers, accompanied the Bruins’ versatile offense.
“Anyone can go off on any night,” Rogers said. “You don’t have to rely on just one person, so we can spread the offense.”
UCLA’s four-game homestand continues next weekend when it faces Colorado and No. 15 Utah, a team the Bruins lost to earlier this season.
“It’ll be good to play against two really good teams at home and just keep trying to execute what we do,” Sealy said.