The Bruins couldn’t spark any momentum.
No. 17 UCLA women’s volleyball (7-5, 2-3 Pac-12) was swept by No. 20 Oregon (10-5, 3-2) Friday night, with its only leads across all three sets being 1-0 and 3-2 in the first set and 1-0 and 2-1 in the third set.
“There’s not going to be some magic wand that waves above us and fixes everything,” said coach Michael Sealy. “We’re going to have to hunker down, get tough (and) stay together.”
The Ducks bounced back from an early 3-2 deficit in the first set and led by as many as four at 12-8. UCLA tied it up at 14-14, but Oregon prevailed with a 25-21 set win.
Sophomore outside hitter Mac May posted five kills in the opening set and a team-best 10 kills for the match, but only hit .138 overall.
“We need to start working harder in the beginning and starting to convert points in the beginning rather than just letting them pound on us and us making errors,” May said. “We need to go pound on them and force them to make errors.”
Oregon jumped out to an 8-2 lead to start the second set and held it throughout, winning 25-18.
Freshman setter Devon Chang – who got the starting nod for UCLA and logged 14 assists – was replaced by junior setter Kylie Miller after the start of set two.
“The setters have been kind of interchangeable for the last little bit, but they’re both pretty good and so it’s not a lot of difference,” May said. “Sometimes a change needs to be done to get the rhythm to change.”
The Bruins took a 2-1 lead to begin the third set, but a 7-0 Oregon run gave the Ducks an early advantage. UCLA got back within one at 24-23, but Oregon closed it out with a 25-23 win.
Junior middle blocker Madeleine Gates and redshirt freshman outside hitter Alexis Light each posted seven total kills and senior libero Zana Muno recorded a match-high 19 digs.
UCLA has now been swept three times in its last five matches. Sealy said it comes down to the team not using the skills they focus on in practice.
“We’re just not taking advantage of easy situations,” Sealy said. “Oregon did a good job of digging balls (and) getting back in system. There was a connection between hitters and setters that you could see. We just don’t have that connection right now, so we’re making the easy plays hard and the more difficult plays even harder.”
The Bruins will continue conference play when they face Oregon State on Saturday.
“You just have to bounce back,” Muno said. “You can’t dwell on anything because you do have a game the next day and we just have to learn from the past.”