Women's Volleyball Hands No. 2 Washington First Loss of Season
Nov. 12, 2005
LOS ANGELES - In a dramatic five-game struggle, No. 21 UCLA ended No. 2 Washington's 23-match winning streak on Saturday night in Pauley Pavilion with a 34-32, 30-27, 28-30, 25-30, 15-13 victory. It was the 1,000th career victory for UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski, and junior middle blocker Nana Meriwether tied the school record for blocks in a match with 17. UCLA is now 16-8 (8-6 Pac-10) on the season while Washington falls to 23-1, 14-1 Pac-10.
Game one set the tone for the closely fought match, with Washington holding a late lead at 29-29 before a Washington service error, two kills from Katie Carter and a block by Kaitlin Sather and Nana Meriwether gave the Bruins a 30-29 lead. A Sanja Tomasevic kill tied the game at 30-all before a Bruin error gave the Huskies another game point. UCLA would respond with a Kaitlin Sather kill and Washington responded with an attack error of its own to give the Bruins their first game point, but a service error tied the game at 32. From there, a Katie Carter kill and a block from Nancy Barba and Nellie Spicer gave the Bruins the 34-32 opening game win. UCLA ran a balanced attack in the opening game of the match with Katie Carter and Kaitlin Sather each downing six kills with Barba checking in with give kills of her own. Meriwether had four blocks, two solo and two assists in the opening game of the match.
Statistically, the opening game was a virtual draw. The Bruins hit .293 to Washington's .296, had 24 kills to UW's 22, 22 digs to Washington's 21 and five blocks to Washington's three.
In game two, UCLA took a 2-1 lead and would never trail again, although the game was tied as late as 23-23. From that point, UCLA went on a four-point run to take a 27-24 lead. Washington would close the gap to two at 27-25, but UCLA would prevail 30-27 to go to the locker room up two games to none. In the second game, redshirt sophomore Rachell Johnson was the difference-maker for the Bruins, downing eight kills with one error on 11 attacks for a .636 attack percentage. Meriwether continued to dominate on the block, as she was involved in all three of UCLA's second game blocks.
After the break, UCLA sprinted to an early lead and were up 16-9 and looking for the sweep before Washington's Christal Morrison became the difference-maker in the game. With Morrison at the service line, the Huskies closed the gap to 16-13. Two rotations later, Morrison scored six of the next nine points, putting her team ahead by a 24-21 margin. UCLA came back to tie the game at 28-28, but two Bruin attack errors would be the difference as Washington prevailed 30-28. Johnson continued to have the hot hand for UCLA, downing six kills on an error-free 12 attacks for a .500 attack percentage.
Game four saw 10 attack errors from each team and six blocks from the Bruins. Washington took an early 15-10 lead before the Bruins climbed to within one point at 17-16. UCLA would again be within one point at 21-20, but the Bruins were unable to take the lead, eventually falling 30-25 to send the match to a fifth and deciding game.
The Bruins had played two other five-game matches in the past eight days, earning road wins at Pepperdine on Tuesday and at Oregon in five games on Nov. 3. The Bruins had yet to lose a five-game match in five previous instances, and tonight would be no exception.
Washington scored the first four points of the game before a Kaitlin Sather kill got the Bruins on the board. From there, it was all Katie Carter, who would finish with seven kills with one error on eight attacks in the game for a .750 percentage. UCLA closed to within one point at 6-5 utilizing four Carter kills and a Washington attack error, but a Tomasevic kill gave the Huskies an 8-6 lead as the teams changed sides. The Bruins scrapped back to tie the game at 11-all and took their first lead at 12-11 on a Rachell Johnson kill. Tomasevic tied the game at 12 before Katie Carter connected on kills five and six in the game to give the Bruins match point at 14-12. Tomasevic would extend the match one more rally before Carter put down her team- and career-high 23rd kill of the match to give the Bruins the upset win.
Four Bruins finished with double-figure kills, led by career-highs from Katie Carter (23) and Rachell Johnson (21). Junior middle blocker Nana Meriwether tied UCLA's school record for blocks in a match with 17, finishing with five solo blocks and 12 assists for 20 points. Five Bruins had double-figure digs, led by freshman libero Jordan Smith with 20. Defensive specialists Laura Kroneberger and Blair Socci finished with 13 and 12, respectively, while Sather finished with 16 and Nellie Spicer had 12. Spicer had a career-high 71 assists in the match and had five kills on 10 error-free attacks to go along with four block assists on the night.
In addition, it was a milestone victory for UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski, who became the first collegiate womens volleyball coach in history to record 1,000 victories. He joins Bruin men's head coach Al Scates as the only two volleyball coaches of either gender to reach that milestone.
UCLA returns to action on Friday night at Arizona State, looking for a sixth consecutive win. The match is scheduled for a 7 pm Mountain Time first serve in Tempe.