Bruins Advance to Second Straight Elite Eight
Dec. 8, 2000
MADISON, WI - UCLA's 11th-ranked women's volleyball team advanced to its second consecutive Elite Eight, with a 15-10, 10-15, 15-11, 15-11 win over Pacific on Friday night in Madison, WI. The Bruins improve to 25-7 and stay alive in the hunt for an NCAA title, while the Tigers end their season with a 28-4 record. The Bruins will play either host Wisconsin or Kansas State on Saturday night at 7 pm Central Time for the right to go to Richmond, VA.
UCLA came out of the gate quickly, storming to a 4-0 lead before Pacific put its first point on the board. The Bruins continued building from there, stretching to leads of 8-1 and 12-2 and forcing UOP into spending both of its timeouts. The Tigers started building a comeback, scoring three consecutive points behind the service of setter Kara Gormsen and taking advantage of two consecutive Bruin hitting errors before UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski called his first timeout of the match. A string of 12 sideouts in 14 rallies followed, with Gormsen once again taking to the service line for the Tigers, this time trailing 13-6. Two straight service aces cut UCLA's lead to 13-8, and after another Bruin hitting error, Banachowski spent his second and final timeout of the game.
Gormsen served the Tigers to within 13-10 before an Ashley Bowles kill gave UCLA its first game point at 14-10. The Bruins would serve for the game four times before putting the first game away behind the service of Michelle Quon and a UOP hitting error for the 15-12 win. As a team the Bruins hit .304 in the opening game of the match, with three players getting the bulk of the kills. Elisabeth Bachman led the way with six kills on six attacks. Kristee Porter also had six kills, while Bowles had a team-high seven kills.
Game two opened as a see-saw battle between the two teams. Pacific started with a 2-0 lead before the match was tied at two, three, and five. UOP opened a 9-5 lead before Kristee Porter went back to serve five straight points for the Bruins. Pacific recovered to take a 12-10 lead with Jennifer Joines at the service line. UCLA was able to earn a sideout at that point, but UOP countered with a kill to regain service, then used a UCLA hitting error, a service ace and a Bruin blocking error to close out the game with a 15-10 win to go to the locker room tied at one game apiece.
The third game started with a long string of 20 rallies that produced a 2-2 tie. UOP began to build its lead from that point, eventually improving its lead to 8-4 before UCLA called its first timeout, and Porter responded with her 13th kill of the match. From there, the Bruins began to chip away, closing the gap to 10-7 before the Tigers called their first timeout of the game. Pacific scored the next point of the game, but with sophomore Lauren Fendrick back to serve, UCLA scored five straight to take a 12-11 lead, one they would never relinquish. The Bruins closed out the match with block assists by sophomore Ella Harley on two of the last three rallies of the game, on the way to a 15-11 game win that gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead.
In game four, the Bruins started hot, capitalizing on a Porter kill and two block assists by Bachman and Erika Selsor to take an early 3-0 lead. By the time UCLA had used a Bachman kill and a block assist by Bachman and Porter to build a 6-0 lead, Pacific was out of timeouts. From that point, the Bruins built a 10-2 lead, and on the way to that mark, Kristee Porter posted her 20th kill of the match and 704th of the season, setting a new Pac-10 single-season record.
The game would not end easily or quickly, however, as UOP climbed back into the game, getting to within four points at 14-10. At that point, Banachowski called his second and final timeout of the match. The Tigers still would not go quietly, closing to 14-11 and making the Bruins serve for the match three times before UCLA converted on a Lauren Fendrick kill to end the game, 15-11 and the match, 3-1.
'It was an exciting, tactical match,' said Banachowski. 'Pacific is a well-coached and talented team. We turned the match around in game three with a great blocking run. That is what switched the momentum.'
With team-high 22 kills in the match, Porter now has 706 kills for the 2000 season, eclipsing the Pac-10 record of 703 set by Oregon's Teri Kramer in 1986. For the second consecutive match, several Bruins reached personal milestones. Bachman posted 19 kills and hit .500 on the evening with seven blocks (one solo, six assisted), and nearly matched her career-high of nine digs, doubling her previous season best with eight against UOP. Bowles set a new season- and career-high with 28 digs, and was just one kill shy of a 20-20 match, checking in with 19 kills.
Freshman defensive specialist Stacey Lee had a career-high with 13 digs in the match, and redshirt freshman Ella Harley also posted a career-high in the match with nine total blocks, two solos and seven assists. With 75 assists in the match, setter Erika Selsor now has 13 career 70+ assist matches, extending her UCLA record. She also matched her career-high with 19 digs against the Tigers.