Women’s volleyball burns Sun Devils, sweeping for second Pac-12 win
UCLA women’s volleyball junior outside hitter Mac May collected 15 kills and four service aces against Arizona State. (Daanish Bhatti/Daily Bruin)
By Coral Smith
September 29, 2019 6:04 pm
Sophomore transfer libero Kelli Barry said momentum was the key to the Bruins’ victory this weekend.
“We had momentum almost all of the game,” Barry said. “And when we didn’t have it, when they got one point, we turned around really quickly and sided it out and kept the momentum on our side.”
UCLA women’s volleyball (7-4, 2-0 Pac-12) swept Arizona State (9-4, 1-1) at home Sunday afternoon. It was the Bruins’ ninth consecutive win over the Sun Devils, with Arizona State’s last victory coming in 2014.
The Sun Devils started off the first set with a service ace, but UCLA kept it close early as neither team led by more than a point until the Bruins took a 7-5 lead on a kill by junior outside hitter Mac May – one of seven kills she recorded in the opening set.
“We definitely scouted them and practiced the last few practices making sure we focused on their tendencies, and really nailing down what we were supposed to do against their attacks,” May said. “And once you get a couple (points), the confidence goes up, which was great, and we were playing defense around it, so the blockers were free to make their moves up there.”
UCLA extended its lead later in the set with a 9-2 run to put the Bruins up 18-10. Five straight points to end the set gave UCLA the 25-13 win.
The Bruins’ last deficit was at 4-3 in the second set, before they went on a 10-1 run to take a 13-5 lead they never relinquished. After slowly extending its advantage to 21-11, UCLA scored the last four points of the set to take it 25-14 and take a 2-0 set lead in the match.
The Bruins held the Sun Devils to just 12 kills and a combined .018 hitting percentage through the first two sets, while UCLA had racked up 16 kills in the opening set alone.
“We knew straight from the start that they were going to be a really tough team, so we had to start strong from the beginning,” May said.
The third set looked to be going the same as the previous two early on, as the Bruins took a 6-0 lead over the Sun Devils on a run that included two aces from May. But Arizona State slowly closed the gap and tied it up at 14 apiece on a UCLA attack error.
“That’s (Arizona State’s) normal level,” said head coach Michael Sealy. “We got a gift where they were a little out of sorts and weren’t playing well in the first two. But that’s their fiery level and what they do, so we’re very lucky the whole match didn’t look like that.”
Neither team was able to take more than a one point lead for the next few points, but with the score again tied at 20-20, the Bruins pulled away, collecting two kills from May and two from sophomore setter Hawley Harrer to win the set 25-20 and complete the sweep.
May led both teams in kills with 15, followed by senior outside hitter Savvy Simo with 12. No Sun Devil player recorded more than eight kills, as Arizona State finished with 24 kills – half of which came in the final set.
UCLA will stay at home next weekend to face Washington State and No. 8 Washington on Friday and Sunday, respectively.