Despite their struggles with serving, the Bruins managed to secure the win.
UCLA women’s volleyball (19-11, 13-7 Pac-12) recorded just one ace through three sets in its win over Notre Dame (19-10, 12-6 ACC) in the first round of the NCAA tournament Friday afternoon. Despite recording nine total service errors, the Bruins were able to pull off the sweep over the Fighting Irish to advance to the second round of the tournament.
Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Emily Ryan said she was not concerned by the high number of service errors.
“Obviously playing a clean game is very important,” Ryan said. “I think it was just an off day (for the team) and it is something that we will continue to work on.”
Both the Bruins and Fighting Irish struggled at the service line in the first set, recording four service errors each. However, UCLA still managed to lead Notre Dame for almost the entire opening set en route to its 25-16 win.
Through the first half of the second set, the Fighting Irish held their own against the Bruins, keeping the set tied at 15 apiece. But, UCLA still managed managed to take a 2-0 lead with a 25-19 second set win.
UCLA got off to an early lead in the third set, scoring the first three points, but Notre Dame fought back by scoring the next four. The set had many back-and-forth points but the Bruins were able to secure the set and the match with a 25-20 victory.
The Bruins recorded 47 kills and 10 blocks in the three-set match, compared to 32 kills and three blocks recorded by the Fighting Irish. UCLA also had a significantly higher hitting percentage than Notre Dame, recording a .371 compared to their .085.
Junior outside hitter Mac May said that the main focus for the next game will be improving on the team’s communication.
“We had a few moments where we were not communicating well,” May said. “Making sure we are all on the same page and really working together will be a big focus for the game tomorrow.”
Although UCLA missed the NCAA tournament last year, this is coach Michael Sealy’s eighth time coaching the Bruins in the tournament. Despite every year’s team being slightly different, Sealy said the current UCLA team has some qualities that particularly stand out to him.
“Every team has their own personality,” Sealy said. “I think this team in particular has been very consistent with the way that they are playing.”
The Bruins will play in the second round of the tournament Saturday at 4 p.m. against No. 4 Wisconsin (22-6, 18-2 Big-10).