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Weekend Preview: Sept. 23

No. 19 UCLA women’s volleyball will embark on another road trip to face No. 14 Stanford following the blue and gold’s home-opening victory over USC on Wednesday. (Jeremy Chen/Daily Bruin)

By David Deng, Diego Farinha, and Lexi Grimes

Sept. 23, 2021 1:16 p.m.

Women’s Volleyball
David Deng, Daily Bruin reporter

After a triumph at home, the Bruins are back on the road.

No. 19 UCLA women’s volleyball (8-1, 1-0 Pac-12) will square off against No. 14 Stanford (6-3, 1-0 ) on Sunday, marking the Bruins’ first Pac-12 match on the road.

Both teams are coming off victories on Wednesday, when UCLA defeated USC in four sets while Stanford beat California 3-1 in both teams’ conference and home opener.

Sunday’s match brings about a battle between two teams with clashing strengths. Prior to interconference play, the Cardinal ranked highly in attacking stats, leading the conference with 14.03 kills per set and placing third in hitting percentage at .275. Meanwhile, the Bruins paced the Pac-12 in defensive accolades, with a conference-best 3.13 blocks per set while holding opponents to a conference-low .125 hitting percentage.

However, UCLA ranks in the middle of the pack in the Pac-12 in per-set hitting statistics, including kills, assists and service aces.

“We’re really just focusing on the little details right now,” said freshman outside hitter Charitie Luper. “We’ve been struggling on the easy balls.”

Since last year’s scheduled matches against Stanford were canceled because of health, wellness and medical concerns, these two teams have not faced each other since 2019. That season, the Bruins swept the Cardinal in the early-season home match before being swept in Stanford.

Sunday’s match begins at 2 p.m.

Women’s Soccer
Diego Farinha, Daily Bruin reporter

The Bruins will begin conference play as the defending champions for the first time since 2015.

No. 3 UCLA women’s soccer (8-0) welcomes Oregon (5-0-3) to Wallis Annenberg Stadium on Friday as both undefeated squads begin their Pac-12 schedules. The Bruins have yet to drop a point this season, while the Ducks haven’t lost through eight matches for the first time since 1981.

Even though the blue and gold is the reigning conference champion and has rattled off eight straight victories, coach Amanda Cromwell said Pac-12 competition is a completely different challenge.

“The Pac-12 schedule is a whole different ball game,” Cromwell said. “Everyone can beat everybody. There’s a different bite to these games, different intensity. It’s going to be interesting the first weekend because we definitely have to step up our game.”

The Ducks have won five games so far this season compared to six during the entirety of the 2020-2021 campaign. Oregon has also improved its scoring from last season, recording 18 goals in eight games with forward Ally Cook leading the way with five.

Last year’s matchup between the two teams ended in a 3-0 UCLA win courtesy of two goals from redshirt sophomore forward Sunshine Fontes and another from junior forward Mia Fishel. The Bruins have won 22 of 24 meetings with the Ducks, with their last loss coming in 2006.

Regardless of the recent success in the matchup or the team’s early success to start the season, sophomore midfielder Michaela Rosenbaum said UCLA is not overlooking its Friday opponent.

“We try to take each game one at a time,” Rosenbaum said. “With Oregon coming up, we’re going to do our own thing and focus on our style of play. ”

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Men’s Soccer
Lexi Grimes, Daily Bruin contributor

After two wins against Pac-12 opponents, the Bruins will be back on the field in a nonconference game.

UCLA men’s soccer (5-2) is hosting UC Riverside (5-2) on Saturday at Wallis Annenberg Stadium, the first nonconference game for the Bruins in almost two weeks. UCLA is currently 3-2 in nonconference games this season.

UCLA was able to begin its conference play with two home victories in a row. The Bruins shut out then-No. 23 Stanford on Sept. 16, before defeating California on Sept. 19.

Coach Ryan Jorden said these wins were the most important victories so far this season, both due to their ramifications for the rest of the season and the heightened competitiveness of their opponents.

“Our conference is always going to be one of the top three toughest RPI conferences in the country,” Jorden said. “On any given weekend, you’re playing two top opponents, and so I think that obviously adds to the competitive nature.”

Despite this recent success, Jorden believes that there are still many areas of improvement that his team needs to focus on before their game on Saturday.

“I didn’t think we were good enough defensively, so we are paying attention to that,” Jorden said. “We’re also looking at things on the other side of the ball, trying to refine some of our movements and actions on the attacking side.”

UCLA will face UC Riverside on Saturday at 7 p.m.

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David Deng | Sports reporter
Deng is currently a Sports reporter on the women's volleyball beat. He was previously a contributor on the cross country, men's volleyball and track & field beats.
Deng is currently a Sports reporter on the women's volleyball beat. He was previously a contributor on the cross country, men's volleyball and track & field beats.
Diego Farinha | Sports reporter
Farinha is currently a Sports reporter on the women's soccer beat. He was previously a contributor on the women's soccer beat.
Farinha is currently a Sports reporter on the women's soccer beat. He was previously a contributor on the women's soccer beat.
Lexi Grimes | Sports reporter
Grimes is currently a Sports reporter on the men's soccer beat. She was previously a contributor on the beach volleyball and women's volleyball beats.
Grimes is currently a Sports reporter on the men's soccer beat. She was previously a contributor on the beach volleyball and women's volleyball beats.
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