Bruins Sweep Penn State, Advance to Third Straight NCAA Regional
Dec. 1, 2001
STATE COLLEGE, PA - UCLA snapped Penn State's 24-match postseason home winning streak on Saturday night at Rec Hall with a 30-11, 30-28, 30-18 victory in the second round of the NCAA women's volleyball tournament. Prior to Saturday night, the Nittany Lions had swept 22 of their 24 prior NCAA matches in Rec Hall, and had lost just two games in NCAA play at Rec Hall. Kristee Porter hit .371 with a match-high 19 kills for the 20-8 Bruins who advance to play Hawai'i in the NCAA Regional Semifinal. Penn State falls to 22-8 with the season-ending loss.
The Bruins came out firing on all cylinders in the opening game of the match, sprinting out to a 12-2 lead, and extending the 10-point margin late into the game, with Penn State's Russ Rose calling his final timeout at 21-11. At that point in the match, the Bruins were hitting .320 and forcing the Nittany Lions into a -.115 attack percentage.
UCLA blazed to the 30-11 game one win, scoring the final 12 points of that opening game. The Bruins finished the game hitting .400 as a team, having out-blocked Penn State by a 5-2 margin and forced the Nittany Lions into a -.189 attack percentage.
In that opening game, Porter recorded six kills without an error for a .667 attack percentage, followed by Ashley Bowles who had four kills and four block assists. Junior Angela Eckmier also had four blocks in the game, with one solo and three assisted blocks. Also contributing to the rout was the Bruin defense, as UCLA out-dug Penn State 17-7.
The Nittany Lions took the lead from the start in game two, and held it until UCLA took the lead for the first time at 21-20. PSU would tie it again at 21-21 before UCLA scored four straight points to make it 25-21. From there, the Bruins pulled out to a 29-25 lead before Penn State roared back from a timeout with three straight points to close within one at 29-28, where UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski called his final timeout of the game. Following the timeout, an Ashley Bowles kill closed it out for UCLA at 30-28, giving the Bruins a 2-0 lead heading into the locker rooms at the break. Through two games, Porter had recorded 14 kills on 23 swings with just two errors for a .522 attack percentage.
Game three started as a back-and-forth battle, with the scored tied early at 8-8. Following a service ace by PSU's Katie Schumacher, the Bruins ran off four straight points to take a 12-8 lead, a lead they would never relinquish. Similar to the first game of the match, UCLA finished game three by running off eight straight points for the 30-18 win.
'We came up with an outstanding performance tonight,' said Banachowski. 'I was tremendously pleased with our intensity, especially at the start of the match, and we maintained it throughout the match. Our serving was outstanding, which didn't allow Penn State to show their ability tonight.'
Porter led the Bruins with 19 kills, hitting .371 with 35 attacks and just six errors. She was joined in double figures by Bowles, who had 11 kills and 11 digs. The Bruins out-blocked Penn State by an 11-6 margin, led by Eckmier who contributed three solo blocks and four block assists. Bowles added five block assists .
The Bruins advance to the round of 16, which is expected to be played on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 6-7 at the Pyramid in Long Beach. Dates and times will be confirmed on Sunday. UCLA will face Hawai'i, and the 49ers will play Northern Iowa, as all four seeded teams advanced to the regional.
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