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Women’s volleyball centers defense, energy before Washington State matchup

When senior outside/opposite hitter Mac May and No. 18 UCLA women’s volleyball lost to Oregon on Sunday, the Bruins committed 18 attack errors compared to the Ducks’ 13. (Alex Driscoll/Daily Bruin staff)

By Tung Lin

Feb. 3, 2021 12:42 p.m.

The Bruins’ first loss revealed a common thread in their three season-opening victories.

In its three wins, No. 18 UCLA women’s volleyball’s (3-1) opponents each accumulated at least 19 hitting errors. However, in the loss against Oregon, the Ducks only committed 13 hitting errors compared to 22 errors in the match that the Bruins won.

“Even Friday night, we did some good things but we weren’t lights out,” said coach Michael Sealy. “We earned some points but Oregon gave us a lot of points.”

On Sunday, Oregon came out with only 29 total errors – combined hitting, assist, service, blocking, ball handling and receiving errors – which is a season-low for a UCLA opponent. Across the victorious matches for the Bruins this season, their opponents racked up 40, 32 and 37 total errors each match, respectively.

Sealy also added his team had trouble earning points and relied more on its opponent’s errors in the matchup versus the Ducks.

“(Oregon’s) quality of touch was better at every aspect of the game. They outplayed us in every aspect of the game” Sealy said. “They took a lot of medium situations and turned them back into opportunities. We took a lot of medium situations and kept them medium and put our hitters in a tough situation.”

According to senior outside/opposite hitter Mac May, not only did UCLA put itself in tough situations, but Oregon came out strong and pushed the Bruins into uncomfortable circumstances.

Junior outside/opposite hitter élan McCall noted that with back-to-back games, the sudden boost in the Ducks’ performance might say more about UCLA than Oregon.

“We kind of lost (our energy) a little bit, and I don’t necessarily think we were at our strongest,” McCall said.

May said a dip in the Bruins’ energy and an uplift in the Ducks’ play contributed to the 3-0 loss for UCLA.

“They fought really hard and we didn’t fight back, and so I think our team just needs to work a little harder through that,” May said.

The senior said the Bruins are looking to regain control of the court, focus on their own plays and keep the energy up regardless of errors on both sides of the net. Despite a four-day hiatus between the last Oregon match and the next one against Washington State, UCLA only has one day to practice before traveling to Pullman.

May said the Bruins have a lot to work on in that one day.

“We are going to work on a lot of defense, a lot of how the system plays and just fine-tuning our side and focusing on our game before we head up to Pullman,” May said.

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Tung Lin | Assistant Video Producer
Lin is currently an Assistant Video Producer and a Sports contributor on the women's volleyball beat, and is a second-year psychobiology student. She was previously a 2019-2020 video contributor.
Lin is currently an Assistant Video Producer and a Sports contributor on the women's volleyball beat, and is a second-year psychobiology student. She was previously a 2019-2020 video contributor.
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