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Women’s volleyball wins one, loses one on Bay Area road trip

The UCLA women’s volleyball team celebrates after a game. The team split matches on the road over the weekend, losing to Stanford 3-0 on Friday before sweeping California on Sunday. (Matias de los Rios Rogers/Daily Bruin)

Women's Volleyball

No. 7 Stanford3

By Genevieve Trimbell

Oct. 24, 2022 1:54 p.m.

In the midst of injuries and roster turnover, the Bruins managed to make a statement this weekend.

UCLA women’s volleyball (10-9, 4-6 Pac-12) played two games this weekend against northern rivals No. 8 Stanford (14-4, 9-1) and California (7-13, 0-10). With a rotation that saw some new faces, the blue and gold lost to Stanford in three sets on Friday night before sweeping Cal on Sunday afternoon.

Despite playing the current first-place Pac-12 team with a depleted roster, the Bruins made their sets against the Cardinal a close affair, holding at least a five-point lead at one point during both the first and second sets.

Coach Michael Sealy said the loss didn’t fully illustrate the success UCLA had against Stanford.

“I know it looks like a 3-0 loss, but we had Stanford against the ropes,” Sealy said. “We just got stuck in a rotation which allowed them to get back in the first and second set, but I thought we played with grit, I thought we played with toughness.”

With three middle blockers out, UCLA has been playing redshirt senior middle blocker Tristin Savage, who recorded eight kills and a .538 hitting percentage against Cal.

Savage said the variable rosters have not had an impact on the team’s mentality.

“It’s been a lot and we have done a lot of changes,” Savage said. “But there hasn’t been any uncertainty with this team. We’ve all been ready to switch and play any position that we need to play.”

In addition to the three injured middle blockers, graduate student outside hitter/opposite élan McCall was absent from the game against Cal. McCall has been a vital part of UCLA’s offense, achieving double-digit kills in eight of the last nine games. With McCall gone, freshman outside hitter/opposite Cheridyn Leverette made her first career start, hitting .300 on the day and leading the Bruins with four service aces.

“That was the first time that I had served in a match since April,” Leverette said. “Serving has always been something that I like focusing in on, so it was good to do it for the Bruins.”

After allowing Cal to score the first two points, UCLA dominated the first set en route to a 25-19 victory, hitting .333 to its opponent’s .103.

The Bruins once again established a four-point lead in the second set, but a string of aces from the Golden Bears led a Cal comeback to a 14-13 lead. UCLA responded with a four-point run and did not relinquish the lead again, winning the set 25-22.

“We allowed them to climb back in, which is dangerous,” Sealy said. “If we let them climb back in and they win the second set, then they’ve got a bunch of life force and they’re fired up to keep going. We don’t want to give them a reason to get excited to play. So I thought closing out the second set was huge.”

UCLA again dominated in the third set, recording its strongest hitting percentage of .400 on the day and limiting Cal to just seven kills. At 16-10, the Bruins went on a nine-point run en route to a 25-10 victory.

Leverette said the Bruins were successful against the Golden Bears because they persevered and didn’t relent.

“We had a lot of adversity and we just really came together and stuck together the whole time,” Leverette said. “We put pressure on them from the beginning and didn’t take any off. We just kept going consistently the whole time.”

UCLA will be on the road again next week to face Colorado on Friday at 5 p.m. and Utah at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

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Genevieve Trimbell | Sports contributor
Trimbell is currently a contributor on the gymnastics and rowing beats.
Trimbell is currently a contributor on the gymnastics and rowing beats.
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