UCLA women’s volleyball accumulates Pac-12 honors, ties for top conference record
After defeating No. 17 Utah on Sunday, No. 14 UCLA women’s volleyball is now off to its best start to a season since its 2011 championship year. (Grace Wilson/Daily Bruin)
By Tung Lin
Oct. 14, 2021 1:37 p.m.
In 2011, the Bruins won a national championship with an .833 win-loss record.
10 years later, they hold an .857 record with half of their season to go.
After Sunday’s match against No. 17 Utah (11-4, 4-2 Pac-12), No. 14 UCLA women’s volleyball (12-2, 5-1) holds the same 5-1 conference record as the Pac-12 standings leader, No. 13 Oregon (14-2, 5-1).
UCLA’s only conference loss came to No. 10 Washington, a team that reached the NCAA semifinals last season. The Huskies hold a 4-2 record in conference play – the same as the Utes, who are responsible for the Ducks’ single Pac-12 loss.
UCLA is sporting a 12-2 overall record – its best start to a season since its 2011 championship year.
“I really try not to look at records because sometimes that can get in people’s heads and mess up their play half the time, but this is a really good team this year,” said freshman outside/opposite hitter Charitie Luper.
Echoing Luper’s sentiments, coach Michael Sealy saidd records don’t dictate what might happen for the rest of the season.
“I don’t have an expectation of what something should look like,” Sealy said. “With expectation comes disappointment. You show up, you do your best, and that’s going to be enough.”
Last Sunday, following Utah’s five-point run in the first set, Sealy called a timeout.
Senior outside/opposite hitter élan McCall, who racked up 12 digs over the course of three sets, played opposite hitter all-around. At the beginning of conference play, she mainly played as a defensive specialist for the opposite hitter.
“(Sealy) told us to keep our heads up and that we knew we were in this game and to just go for it,” McCall said. “If we make a mistake, great, and if we don’t, let’s get after it.”
The Bruins ended up sweeping the Utes, clocking in their 12th win.
Following the sweep of Utah, two UCLA players were awarded Pac-12 honors as senior libero/defensive specialist Zoe Fleck was named Defensive Player of the Week and Luper earned Freshman of the Week honors.
The Bruins currently lead the conference with five Pac-12 Player of the Week accolades on the year.
“I think that’s amazing, especially out of all the great teams we have in the Pac-12,” Luper said.
Sealy said the weekly awards, while beneficial, eventually become old news.
“It’s nice for a player to maximize (those honors) – take the confidence of knowing you played at a high level,” Sealy said. “But if you think that’s going to automatically give you a point the next week, you’re wrong.”