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No. 22 Bruins Open 2020-2021 Season Against Cal

Jan 21, 2021
Sabrina Smith

Free Live Video | Match Notes

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Match 1
Friday, January 22
California at No. 22 UCLA
2 p.m.
Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom
Los Angeles, Calif.
Free Live Video
Live Stats

Match 2
Sunday, January 24
California at No. 22 UCLA
12 p.m.
Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom
Los Angeles, Calif.
Free Live Video
Live Stats

BRUINS OPEN "2020-2021" SEASON AT HOME VERSUS CALIFORNIA
The UCLA women's volleyball team begins a new season this weekend, hosting California in a two-match series at Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. Match one will be Friday at 2 p.m., followed by match two on Sunday at 12 p.m. Free live video will be available, with links located on the women's volleyball schedule page at UCLABruins.com.

WHAT'S NEXT?
The Bruins will play their next four contests on the road, starting next weekend with a two-match series at Oregon in Eugene. The first matchup will be Friday, Jan. 29 at 6 p.m. and will air on Pac-12 Oregon. The second tilt will be Sunday, Jan. 31 at 1 p.m. and will air on Pac-12 Los Angeles and Oregon.

FAN ADVISORY
All dates and times are subject to change on short notice. With no fans allowed at matches, every effort will be made to live stream contests, with links being made available on the UCLA women's volleyball schedule page. Also, additional matches in March and April may be selected for television.

SCOUTING THE CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS
California recorded a 20-10 mark in 2019, going 10-10 in Pac-12 Conference play, but dropped its final six matches of the season and were not awarded a berth into the NCAA Tournament. Last season's leader in kills, senior Mima Mirkovic, is back after producing 3.28 kills per set in 2019. Senior Isabel Potter (8.19 assists per set) and junior Jade Blevins (4.59 aps) return to quarterback the offense. 

SERIES HISTORY: UCLA VS. CALIFORNIA
The Bruins won both matches against California last season, winning in four sets at Pauley and in three in Berkeley. Emily Ryan went 7-for-7 in kill attempts in the road win, as the Bruins hit .347 as a team, their third-best hitting percentage of 2019. Mac May posted 21 kills in the home triumph, with Ryan adding 11 and Lexi Hadrych notching 10. Kelli Barry had a double-double with 17 digs and 10 assists. The Bruins lead the all-time series with Cal, 66-9, and are 30-5 at home against the Golden Bears.

PRESEASON PLAUDITS
The Bruins are ranked 22nd in the AVCA Coaches Preseason Poll, one of four Pac-12 teams ranked in the Top 25 (No. 3 Stanford, No. 8 Washington and No. 10 Utah). USC and Washington State are also receiving votes. UCLA checked in at fourth in the Preseason Pac-12 Coaches Poll. Senior Mac May was named to the All-Preseason Team.

WHO ARE THE BRUINS?
The Bruins' 20-player roster consists of 12 returners and eight newcomers, with two of the newest players junior transfers.

Senior Mac May was an AVCA and VolleyballMag.com Second Team All-American in 2019, as well as Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year, AVCA Pacific South All-Region First Team and All-Pac-12 First Team. She led the Bruins with 4.83 kills per set and 36 service aces, and was third with 2.58 digs per set.

May ranked ninth in the nation in points per set (5.47) and was second among Pac-12 players, tied for ninth in the country in kps (third in the Pac-12), first in the conference in service aces per set (0.35) and 39th in the nation in attacks per set (11.25). She had 27 double-figure kills matches and nine contests with at least 20, while also ranking second on the team with eight double-doubles.

May, the 29th Bruin to surpass 1,000 kills for her career, enters this season with 1,148, which is 27th on the all-time list. Next up on the list are Nana Meriwether (26th, 1,157), Marissa Hatchett (25th, 1,168) and Samantha Shaver (24th, 1,169). May also became the 19th Bruin to reach 100 aces, and 13th to surpass both 1,000 kills and 100 aces. Her 103 aces are tied with Hatchett for 17th all-time and 10 clear of 16th place (Bojana Todorovic).

Among the returners to take their swings on the pins will be senior Alexis Light and redshirt sophomore Lexi Hadrych. Light did not play in 2019 due to an injury after averaging 1.72 kps in 22 matches in 2018. Hadrych was third on the team last season in kps (2.04), recording six double-figure kills matches, including a season-best 15 at Oregon State on Oct. 20.

The Bruins will add five newcomers to their offensive attack, junior élan McCall and freshmen Skylar Canady, Allison Jacobs, Iman Ndiaye and Gabriella Sonnhalter. McCall comes to UCLA after spending the two previous seasons at TCU. She was named AVCA Honorable Mention All-American, AVCA All-Southwest Region, AVCA Southwest Region Freshman of the Year, All-Big 12 First Team and All-Big 12 Rookie Team in 2018, leading the Horned Frogs with 4.74 kps.

Canady was an AVCA High School All-Region, West Catholic Athletic League and Central Coast Section Player of the Year at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory in San Francisco. Jacobs, a three-sport athlete at West Ranch High School in Valencia, Calif., was an Under Armour All-American selection as a senior, as well as All-Foothill League POY and All-CIF, recording 381 kills.

Ndiaye was the 2019 and 2020 District Offensive Player of the Year at Plano West HS in Plano, Texas. She earned 2019 PrepVolleyball and Volleyball Magazine All-American honors, helping the Wolves to the '19 State Championship match. Sonnhalter played four years of volleyball at Woodrow Wilson HS in Long Beach. The two-time First Team All-Moore League selection is coming off an injury in the summer of 2019 that did not allow her to play her senior campaign.

Returning as one of the quarterbacks of the offense is junior Devon Chang. She was second on the team with 5.24 assists per set in 2019, adding 1.70 digs per set and 14 service aces. Chang had a pair of double-doubles. Her season highs in assists (28) and digs (11) came in the win at Oregon State.

Joining Chang at the setter spot are freshmen Kate Lane and Audrey Pak. Lane was a four-year varsity player at Palos Verdes HS in Palos Verdes, Calif. She was named Bay League Most Outstanding Player, Daily Breeze First Team South Bay and All-Southern California Team as a senior. Pak prepped at Campolindo HS in Moraga, Calif. She was a three-time All-Diablo Athletic League MVP, helping the Cougars to a CIF NorCal Championship in 2019.

The most experienced position group is at the middle blocker spot, with all four being returning players, senior Sabrina Smith, redshirt junior Emily Ryan, redshirt sophomore Tristin Savage and redshirt freshman Anna Dodson.

Ryan led the Bruins in blocks per set last season at 1.04, ranking 10th among Pac-12 players. She was also first with 20 block solos and added 1.68 kps. On the offensive side, Ryan had four double-figure kills matches. Her season highs of 11 kills came in three successive contests at the end of October.

Smith was second on the team with 0.82 bps, adding 52 kills, 35 digs and seven aces. She had a season-best seven kills against Oregon on Nov. 22, as she went 7-for-10 with no errors. 

Savage played in 38 sets and 16 matches as a redshirt freshman, recording 26 blocks and 22 kills. On three occasions, she had three blocks in a match, while notching four kills in a contest twice. Dodson utilized a redshirt last season due to injury.

Patrolling the back row will be four returners and one newcomer. Junior Kelli Barry led the Bruins a season ago with 3.44 dps, which was 10th among Pac-12 players. She was also third with 15 service aces. Barry had 20 matches with double figures in digs, including a season-high 20 at Long Beach State on Sept. 7.

Junior Kelsey Campeau had 20 digs in 39 sets and 15 matches in 2019, tallying a season-best eight digs on Sept. 5 versus Georgia. Sophomore Mari Hinkle played in 61 sets and 20 matches as a freshman, posting 40 digs and four aces. Her season best in digs came against Oregon on Nov. 22 when she had six.

Junior Sawyer Aigner-Swesey did not appear in a match in 2019 after averaging 1.30 dps in 18 matches in 2018. Junior Zoe Fleck comes to UCLA from UC Santa Barbara. In two seasons with the Gauchos, Fleck accrued 635 digs (3.01 per set) and 47 aces. She produced double figures in digs in 21 of 29 matches in 2019, including six contests in the 20s, averaging 3.97 dps.

The five players departing from the 2019 roster are graduating seniors Savvy Simo and Cali Thompson, Jenny Mosser, who graduate transferred to Kansas, Hawley Harrer and Kaitlin Kao.