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UCLA women’s volleyball wins with season’s highest-scoring set at ‘Dig Pink’ match

Friday night marked UCLA women’s volleyball’s official “Dig Pink” event – stands were colored in pink and the team accessorized with pink ribbons. (Shane Yu/Daily Bruin staff)

Women's Volleyball


By Rahaf Abumansour

Oct. 21, 2023 3:06 p.m.

The Bruins capitalized on both their home turf and a meaningful event Friday night.

UCLA women’s volleyball (11-8, 3-6 Pac-12) hosted Washington (13-7, 4-5) in its first of two home games this weekend. The former came away with the win in sweeping fashion, despite a third set going far beyond regular time.

The Bruins hosted their official “Dig Pink” match on Friday night, donning pink ribbons and competing in front of stands adorned in the same. The Dig Pink program was created in an effort to raise breast cancer awareness and raised money to help those living with stage IV breast cancer.

Outside/opposite hitter Iman Ndiaye said the Dig Pink event gave UCLA another reason to play hard.

“Tonight was really special for us to bring a lot of energy and awareness to the crowd,” the senior said. “Having another reason to play other than just volleyball is huge.”

Senior setter Audrey Pak added that playing for a cause that extends beyond volleyball adds another layer to their game.

“It gives us really good perspective, and it really brought us together,” Pak said.

On the court, UCLA snapped Washington’s three-game win streak after victories over California, Colorado and Utah.

Pak and Ndiaye combined for two aces early in the opening frame. The Bruins kept the Huskies at bay throughout the set, limiting them to a .097 attack percentage compared to the Bruins’ .350 – an effect of the visitors’ seven errors compared to the hosts’ three.

The first set featured numerous back-and-forth rallies, the majority landing in favor of the Bruins. Redshirt senior middle blocker Anna Dodson struck at an effective .500 hitting percentage throughout the frame.

“Anna is really selfless and she’s been transitioning hard throughout the game,” Pak said. “I just really trust her.”

On top of efficient attacking, Dodson – alongside Ndiaye and graduate student middle blocker Desiree Becker – occupied the top three spots on the blocking chart as the three garnered two blocks each.

The third set saw a spurt of energy from the Huskies but the Bruins ensured the contest wouldn’t see a fourth set – forcing the third and final frame to go deep into overtime.

Washington was just two points away from picking up its first set win, boasting a two-point advantage over the Bruins at 23-21. But after sophomore outside hitter Cheridyn Leverette contributed a crucial kill, the two teams continued to fight.

Pak pushed her team’s scoring further with a kill to level the playing field at 23 apiece. And with the scoreboard soon reading 25-25, neither team was ready to throw in the towel.

And according to Ndiaye, the Bruins are no strangers to high-pressure scenarios.

“In practice, when we play against each other it’s also very gritty,” Ndiaye said. “So we were well prepared.”

Ultimately, it was a Dodson kill and an Ndiaye serve that sealed the deal at 38-36 – marking both teams’ highest-scoring set this season.

“It’s nice to see our trend moving upward,” said coach Alfee Reft.

The Bruins will face off against No. 4 Washington State Sunday at noon.

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Rahaf Abumansour
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