UCLA-Pepperdine An Anticipated Matchup
UCLA's women's volleyball team can only hope history does not repeat itself.
A year ago, the Bruins returned home from a successful tournament in Hawaii only to lose a five-set heartbreaker to Pepperdine. Well, guess what? UCLA had another fine showing in Hawaii last weekend and once again is back home to face the Waves.
While last year's match against Pepperdine was at Firestone Fieldhouse, this season's is at the John Wooden Center. The match will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks, with former UCLA star Holly McPeak providing the analysis.
"It's the exact timing as last year," McPeak said. "UCLA flew back from Hawaii and they were exhausted, and they faced Pepperdine on a Wednesday night. They were tired and flat."
Wednesday's match is one of the marquee nonconfence showdowns on the West Coast so far this season. The Bruins, the defending national champions, are ranked No. 2 nationally. Pepperdine is ranked No. 18 and is coming off one of its best seasons in school history, in which it advanced to the NCAA Regional Finals and lost in five sets at Hawaii.
"Anytime you get a chance to play UCLA and get a win against them, it helps - especially if you're not in the Pac-12," McPeak said. "Pepperdine graduated some key players but they still have a lot of talent. Neither team is where they want to be yet, but it's a nice matchup early on."
The Bruins (6-1) began the season as the preseason No. 1 team in the country but lost in five sets at Nebraska in their second match of the season. The Waves (6-2) began the year as the No. 12 team natinally but has dropped matches to Dayton and Colorado State.
This is the final week of nonconference play before the rugged Pac-12 schedule commences next week.
"Everyone in the Pac-12 has a winning record, but once Pac-12 play begins, everybody beats up everybody," McPeak said. "You can be underrated because of your record once conference play begins."