Women’s volleyball endures first loss of conference play at hands of Huskies
UCLA women’s volleyball junior outside hitter Mac May recorded a double-double in Sunday’s loss to No. 8 Washington. May had 15 digs and a career-high 29 kills in the defeat, surpassing her previous high of 27 kills, which came against Washington last year. (Axel Lopez/Daily Bruin senior staff)
|No. 8 Washington||3|
By Coral Smith
Oct. 7, 2019 12:28 am
The Bruins were close throughout, but they couldn’t quite pull off another upset.
UCLA women’s volleyball (8-5, 3-1 Pac-12) fell at home to No. 8 Washington (11-3, 2-2) in four sets. It was the Bruins’ first loss in almost three weeks after three straight wins to start off conference play.
“We let a lot of those sets go,” said coach Michael Sealy. “There’s not one of those sets I didn’t think we had the upper hand in, and we just didn’t make plays when we needed to.”
The Bruins outhit the Huskies .312 to .262 in the match, recording 60 kills to Washington’s 54, but it was at the service line where Washington had the advantage over UCLA, and that ultimately decided the match. The Huskies recorded nine service aces to the Bruins’ two, and UCLA made nine reception errors.
“They won the serve and pass battle by a lot, and that was the difference in the match,” Sealy said. “The service pressure was good, they hit the right people and they hit it with a good velocity, and we just didn’t have a great day serving or receiving.”
Junior outside hitter Mac May, senior outside hitter Savvy Simo and senior setter Cali Thompson were all bright spots in the loss, each recording a double-double.
May collected 15 digs to go with a career-high 29 kills, while Simo also had a career-high 19 kills to go with 12 digs. Thompson recorded her second double-double of the season with 44 assists and 13 digs.
The Bruins took the initial lead in the first set, holding onto it until the Huskies came back with a solo block to go ahead 8-7. Washington stretched that lead to as much as four in the next few points, but UCLA made it competitive, scoring five in a row to take a 20-19 lead.
The Bruins surrendered five straight points to bring up a set point for the Huskies, and though Simo staved off the first set point for UCLA, Washington won the first set 25-21 on its next serve.
“We fought, but we need to make sure that we’re closing sets,” Simo said. “Teams aren’t going to give it to us and … they’re the No. 8 team in the country, so we knew we were supposed to come out, but it just maybe was a little slow today.”
UCLA did not lead in the second set, but with the score tied at 22-22, Washington middle blocker Lauren Sanders got a kill and ace to put the Huskies ahead. Another kill sealed the deal, giving Washington the 25-23 set win.
The Bruins finally broke through in the third set to avoid a sweep, winning it 25-20 after leading for all but one point in the frame. After Washington scored four straight to go ahead at 6-5, kills from Simo and redshirt sophomore middle blocker Sabrina Smith gave UCLA back the lead.
From there, the Bruins slowly built up their advantage to as many as five points at 24-19. Though Washington saved the first set point, UCLA was able to close out the set 25-20 and force a fourth set.
“We just kind of said we’ve got to show up, and come and play our game,” May said. “So coming off two really rough sets, I think we did a great job in that third one just fighting through it.”
May collected 10 kills in the third set, and with her career-high 29 total kills surpassed her previous high of 27 kills, which came at Washington last season.
There were five lead changes and 10 ties in the fourth set, as the longest streak of points was a four point run by the Bruins to go ahead 14-11. The teams were even as late as 21-21, but the Huskies scored three of the next four to bring up match point.
UCLA saved the first match point to make it 24-23, but was unable to tie it up again, and Washington won the set 25-23 for a 3-1 victory.
UCLA will have a chance to bounce back on the road next week against No. 20 Utah on Friday and Colorado on Sunday.