2013 Preview: UCLA volleyball
UCLA advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament a year ago after posting its 14th-straight, 20-win season. The Bruins lose their top two outside hitters from a year ago to graduation in Rachael Kidder and Tabi Love, but a strong squad of 12 letterwinners return, including the top two blockers, SR MB Mariana Aquino and JR MB Zoë Nightingale, as well as Preseason All-Pac-12 honoree SR OH Kelly Reeves.
» The Bruins led the conference in hitting percentage last year (.295) and return four of the six players who hit over .300 in 2012. Nightingale paces the way, who was fifth among Pac-12 players with a .365 mark. Aquino hit .343, while JR OH Karsta Lowe swung at a .323 clip. Nightingale was also fourth in the Pac-12 in blocks per set (1.36) in 2012.
» Reeves (pictured), a four-year starter, is one of the most experienced members of the Bruins squad. She was one of 13 student-athletes on the Pac-12 All-Star Team that competed in China over the summer and was named the first-ever all-American for UCLA sand volleyball, which had its inaugural season in 2013.
» Setting has always been a strong suit of Bruins teams in the past and it is no exception in the present. JR Megan Moenoa, who split setting duties a year ago, returns and is joined in the setting corps by JR Monica Stauber, a transfer from Hawai'i, and FR Jordan Robbins.
» At the outside hitter position, the Bruins will miss Kidder and Love, both of whom were All-Americans a year ago.
» Another starting spot up for grabs is at libero, with the graduation of Bojana Todorovic, who was eighth in the Pac-12 year ago with 3.85 digs per set.