Thursday, February 27

Women’s volleyball in position to claim first win after slow start to season

Junior outside hitter Mac May led UCLA women's volleyball last season in kills per set and total kills. May and the Bruins will have a chance to win their first match of the season this weekend. (Alice Naland/Daily Bruin)

Women's Volleyball

Thursday, 6 p.m.

Walter Pyramid
Texas State
Friday, 5 p.m.

Walter Pyramid
Long Beach State
Saturday, 7 p.m.

Walter Pyramid

This post was updated Sept. 5 at 6:40 p.m.

The Bruins will head down the 405 freeway for their next games.

UCLA women’s volleyball (0-2) will face three unranked opponents when it competes in the Long Beach State Mizuno Classic this weekend. The Bruins will start with a game versus Georgia (2-1) on Thursday, followed by Texas State (1-3) on Friday and the host team Long Beach State (2-1) on Saturday.

UCLA will have a chance to collect its first win of the season after dropping its first two matches last week to then-No. 20 Baylor and No. 2 Nebraska, both without winning a single set.

“It really ends up being about resiliency; you have to find a way to bounce back,” said coach Michael Sealy. “We saw that our quality of touch wasn’t as good as it could be, … so (this weekend is) just going to be about taking care of the ball and making better touches.”

The Bruins have gone 4-0 all-time against the Bulldogs, though the teams haven’t met since 2006. Georgia finished its 2018 campaign with a 15-14 record, but missed the postseason, and so far in 2019 has only lost one match.

In addition, three Bulldogs are averaging three or more kills per set so far this season, while the Bruins only have two players who average over two kills per set. One of them is junior outside hitter Mac May, who also led UCLA in kills per set and total kills in 2018 with 3.69 and 373, respectively.

“We had our first games and we got the jitters out, so I think we’re really going to have to get to work and fix some things that were pointed out to us,” May said. “So now we’re going to focus on Georgia … and I’m excited, I think we’ll play well, and I think we’ll do better.”

Friday’s game against Texas State is the only match in which the Bruins will face a team that currently holds a losing record. One of Texas State’s losses came at the hands of UCLA’s conference rival then-No. 14 USC, in which the Bobcats were defeated in four sets. Their 1-3 record is a far cry from last season, when Texas State went 27-7 and won the Sun Belt conference championship, with its season ending in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

UCLA will take on Long Beach State on Saturday – the two teams have faced off every season since 2013. The Bruins have taken the last eight games in the series, including a four-set win on the road in 2018.

Despite the historical success for UCLA against Long Beach State, May said the Bruins won’t be taking the match for granted.

“We played Baylor last year and we beat Baylor, and this year we lost to them,” May said. “I don’t think you can really take a team lightly even if you beat them a year ago because there are a lot of changes that can be made, … so I think we’re really going to have to work hard and give it our best game.”

UCLA’s match against Georgia will start at 6 p.m. on Thursday at the Long Beach State Walter Pyramid.

Assistant Sports editor

Smith is currently an assistant Sports editor on the softball, gymnastics, women's volleyball, swim & dive and rowing beats. She was previously a reporter on the softball, women's volleyball, rowing and swim & dive beats.

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