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UCLA women’s volleyball to host Arizona State, Arizona after loss to Oregon

Coach Michael Sealy raises his hand. The 12th-year coach for UCLA women’s volleyball is heading into the final weekend homestand of the 2021-2022 season against Arizona State on Friday and Arizona on Sunday. (Esther Li/Daily Bruin staff)

Women's Volleyball

Arizona State
Friday, 6 p.m.

Pauley Pavilion
Pac-12 Los Angeles
Sunday, 12 p.m.

John Wooden Center
No TV info

By David Deng

Nov. 19, 2021 4:09 p.m.

The Bruins are nearing the end of the season.

No. 13 UCLA women’s volleyball (20-4, 13-3 Pac-12) will host Arizona State (14-13, 7-9) on Friday and Arizona (15-12, 7-9) on Sunday in its final weekend homestand of the season.

The Bruins faced off against the Wildcats on Oct. 15, taking them down in three sets. In that match, graduate student outside hitter/opposite Mac May posted 18 kills on a .424 hitting percentage, tied for the best efficiency mark she’s had in a contest this season.

Against the Sun Devils on Oct. 17, the Bruins took a 2-0 advantage before falling in three consecutive sets. UCLA hit .133 over the final three sets compared to Arizona State’s .294 and had 28 attack errors throughout the match, tied for its fourth-highest error count of the season.

Coach Michael Sealy said after the Bruins struggled with tip shots against the Sun Devils, other teams emulated their strategy of tipping against the blue and gold, including Oregon in UCLA’s 3-0 win over the Ducks on Oct. 22.

“We struggled with (tips) against Arizona State,” Sealy said. “(Oregon) obviously watched that match, saw where we struggled and tried to replicate it.”

Following the defeat to unranked Arizona State, UCLA rattled off seven consecutive victories. Freshman outside hitter/opposite Charitie Luper said it was important for the team to rebound with a win.

“It means a lot,” Luper said. “We should have won that game against Arizona State but stuff happens. I had a feeling we were going to bounce back and we did, and it’s only up from here.”

The Bruins currently hold their best record through 24 matches since the 2011 season – when they won the national championship. May and Luper have spearheaded the offensive output, ranking second and eighth in the Pac-12 with 4.76 and 3.75 kills per set, respectively. However, Luper has been absent from the lineup for the past four matches.

In the streak-ending loss to Oregon last Sunday, May produced eight kills, her second-lowest output of the season, and the team was limited to hitting .204.

“We were setting too high,” Sealy said. “When Mac was trying to find the right offense and get on the right step, the set got there too long and slow so she was out of sync. It was no one person’s fault, it is trying to find a precision offense.”

Sophomore outside hitter/opposite Allison Jacobs said playing on the road factored into the energy level differences between the Bruins and the Ducks.

“We still came out strong and still played our game, but Oregon found a new level of excitement because they were at home,” Jacobs said. “We brought the same level of excitement, but they upped it up a lot, and we weren’t able to catch up in time because they were out for revenge more than we expected.”

Friday’s match begins at 6 p.m. and Sunday’s match begins at 12 p.m.

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David Deng | Sports staff
Deng is currently a Sports staffer on the men's volleyball beat. He was previously a reporter on the gymnastics and women's volleyball beat and a contributor on the cross country and track & field beats.
Deng is currently a Sports staffer on the men's volleyball beat. He was previously a reporter on the gymnastics and women's volleyball beat and a contributor on the cross country and track & field beats.
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