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Women’s volleyball snaps home losing streak vs. Washington, falls in 2nd match

Junior defensive specialist/libero Zoe Fleck had a combined 31 digs as then-No. 18 UCLA women’s volleyball split its doubleheader with No. 10 Washington. (Ella Barnes/Daily Bruin)

Women's Volleyball

No. 10 Washington2
No. 18 UCLA3
No. 10 Washington3
No. 18 UCLA0

By Tung Lin

Feb. 15, 2021 1:10 p.m.

The Bruins broke an eight-year losing streak Friday, but they couldn’t sweep the weekend.

Then-No.18 UCLA women’s volleyball (5-3) split its home matches against No.10 Washington (6-2) this weekend, winning Friday’s match 3-2 before losing 0-3 on Sunday. Prior to the game Friday, the Bruins had lost every home game against the Huskies since 2012.

Toward the end of the first set, junior setter Devon Chang was injured and replaced by freshmen Kate Lane. The Bruins continued to run a 5-1 rotation with the setter playing all-around and getting opportunities for blocks and dumps.

Redshirt junior middle blocker Emily Ryan said the injury was grim in the moment but praised the setters that took Chang’s place right where she left off. With a quick change in lineups, UCLA took the first set 25-20.

“We still made smart little plays, but it wasn’t enough to get through a win,” Ryan said.

The Bruins were up 24-21 in the second, until three kills, one ace and one UCLA hitting error put Washington ahead by two points, winning the second set 26-24.

After the Bruins picked up the third set, the situation from the second set was reversed in the fourth, with UCLA trailing 21-24 before coming back to even the score at 24 but still losing the set to Washington 26-24.

“(Washington has) a lot of really good options, especially on the pins,” said junior libero/defense specialist Zoe Fleck. “They have a super solid setter so we were expecting a pretty simple but efficient offense, and that’s what they gave us.”

The fifth and final set Friday started with a service error by the Huskies and ended with a 15-11 victory for the Bruins. Seven out of 15 points for UCLA were from hitting and service errors by Washington, while the Huskies picked up six points of their own from the Bruins’ hitting errors.

Through the 218-point match, junior outside hitter/opposite élan McCall also racked up 18 kills, good for a hitting percentage of .244.

But after its loss Friday, Washington returned to Pauley Pavilion on Valentine’s Day and turned the tables, sweeping UCLA 3-0.

The first set Sunday ended with back-to-back setter tips, first from UCLA and then from Washington, allowing the Huskies to take the period.

Freshman setter Audrey Pak played for the first time in the second set with eight assists, but the Bruins still fell to the Huskies 21-25.

In the third and last set Sunday, Washington hit 20 points before UCLA hit double digits, and the road team took the final set 25-13.

Fleck attributed the Huskies’ turnaround in results to differences in the teams’ serving.

“In the first match, I think we served tougher,” Fleck said. “In the second match, we didn’t serve as tough, and so (the Huskies) were able to do whatever they wanted with their offense.”

After breaking the home losing streak Friday, UCLA coach Michael Sealy credited his opponent’s playmaking as his team was swept Sunday.

“Washington did a lot of great things,” Sealy said. “Their blockers (made) four or five great touches in a row. It wasn’t like we weren’t clean enough. It was, ‘Wow, they made plays.’”

On Sunday, Washington accumulated 24 block assists, while UCLA had a third of that total. In the Friday match, the Huskies also led in block assists with 32, with the Bruins carrying 16.

“Each of (Washington’s) hitters hit well,” Fleck said. “In system, out of system, their setters played great and they had a good match.”

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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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