The Bruins are in unfamiliar territory.
As an unranked team for the first time since 2014, UCLA women’s volleyball (13-12, 8-10 Pac-12) will host Colorado (17-12, 9-9) and No. 15 USC (20-9, 12-6) on Wednesday and Friday, respectively.
After losing seven of their last nine games and facing injuries to redshirt freshman outside hitter Alexis Light and junior setter Kylie Miller, the Bruins are no longer in the top 25 of rankings.
UCLA is tied for eighth in the Pac-12 with Utah (16-13, 8-10) while Colorado is tied for sixth with Arizona (20-10, 9-9). USC holds the second-best record in the conference, behind Stanford, which has an undefeated record in the Pac-12.
Coach Michael Sealy said inconsistent ball control has been one of many factors that has contributed to the Bruins’ recent losses.
“Everything – it’s quality of touch,” Sealy said. “Know our assignments. Take care of the ball when it comes to us.”
With their remaining two regular season games being at home, where they are 5-5 for the season, the Bruins hope to not only secure two wins, but also to make their way back into the top 25.
The Bruins are averaging 12.6 kills, 17.7 digs and 2.2 blocks per set. Sophomore outside hitter Mac May and senior libero Zana Muno lead the team with 3.75 kills and 5.01 digs per set, respectively.
“We’re just looking forward to this next week to finish the Pac-12 strong,” said freshman setter Devon Chang.
This will be the Bruins’ first match against the Buffaloes and a redemption game against the Trojans after the Bruins were swept at the Galen Center in September.
Colorado, led by middle blocker Naghede Abu who has the second highest hitting percentage at .389 and blocks per set at 1.38 in the Pac-12, has won three out of its last four games. The Buffaloes are averaging 13.19 kills, 14.12 digs and 2.65 blocks per set.
“Making sure we execute and take care of our ball control and quality of touch,” said sophomore outside hitter Jenny Mosser. “And if we do that, we can beat Colorado.”
USC has won five of it last seven games and will face Utah before playing in the rivalry game at Pauley Pavilion on Senior Night.
USC is averaging 14.04 kills, 15.71 digs and 2.17 blocks per set. Outside hitter Brooke Botkin and libero Victoria Garrick are third in the Pac-12 in number of kills per set at 4.47 and digs per set at 4.86, respectively.
“It will be a good matchup,” Chang said. “They’ve beaten a lot of good teams and taken a lot of teams to five sets and things like that, so it’s obviously important for us to go on knowing that we need to compete.”