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UCLA women’s volleyball set to end its Pac-12 run, face Oregon State and USC

Senior outside/opposite hitter Iman Ndiaye stands with her arm around coach Alfee Reft on Senior Day. The first-year honcho has quickly made his impact on the Bruins and the culture of this program. (Ella Greenberg Winnick/Daily Bruin staff)

Women’s Volleyball

Oregon State
Wednesday, 1 p.m.

Gill Coliseum
Pac-12 Insider
Friday, 7 p.m.

Galen Center
Pac-12 Los Angeles

By Una O'Farrell

Nov. 22, 2023 10:52 a.m.

The Bruins are nearing their final serve of the regular season and potentially their 2023 campaign.

UCLA women’s volleyball (16-12, 8-10 Pac-12) will hit the road to Corvallis to face Oregon State (11-17, 6-12) on Wednesday, before returning to Los Angeles to see No. 24 USC (18-11, 12-7) on Friday to close out the regular season.

Coach Alfee Reft said he hopes to hone in on minute aspects of his team’s performance in the games ahead.

“I think we gotta get back to the drawing board on moving some pieces around,” Reft said. “It’s not big parts that we’re blanking on early in the set, it’s really just executing small pieces down the stretch.”

While this will be the Bruins’ first encounter with the Beavers in 2023, the squad will see its crosstown rivals once again after its 3-2 loss to the Trojans earlier this season.

USC setter Mia Tuaniga will play Friday after being unavailable due to injury the last time the squads matched up. Tuaniga’s 39.5 sets per game average pose an offensive threat to the Bruins, alongside the Trojans’ 13.26 kills per set.

UCLA has struggled with accurate serves recently, racking up at least 10 service errors in its last four straight games, after limiting that figure to single digits in 12 of its 13 prior games.

On top of the Bruins’ serving inefficiency, the Golden Bears managed a match-high 70 digs against the Bruin offense Sunday and simultaneously kept the hosts’ hitting percentage below .150 in the three sets they won over UCLA.

Sophomore outside/opposite hitter Grayce Olso said her team is hoping to enter its final two games with a more aggressive mindset on the offensive end.

“I think serve receive passing we can definitely upgrade,” Olson said. “Also offensively swinging at balls, I think today (Sunday) we were a bit timid.”

Friday marks the end of conference play for the Bruins, along with Reft’s first year as head honcho, after he departed San Diego as an assistant to become UCLA’s head coach.

As the last time the Southern California rivals will face each other in the Pac-12, Reft said his team hopes to perform well under this pressure.

“At this point in the year, it’s gonna be about executing under some big moments,” Reft said. “Which we’ve seen our team do all through the year.”

Graduate student middle blocker Desiree Becker said she feels nostalgic for the impact Reft has had on both herself and the culture of the team.

“He is the best leader and coach I’ve ever had,” Becker said. “He’s one of the most well-spoken people I’ve ever met, and he really encapsulates being a good coach.”

With newfound stability and proficiency at the helm, the Bruins will have a chance to ring the curtains down on their final Pac-12 season with style as they serve off against the Beavers on Wednesday at 1 p.m., followed by a showdown against the Trojans on Friday at 7 p.m.

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Una O'Farrell
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