No. 22 Bruins Close Strong to Beat Cal in Season Opener
LOS ANGELES - Senior Mac May led all players with 20 kills, including 14 in the final two sets, while a trio of newcomers also posted double figures in kills, as No. 22 UCLA hit .456 in the final two sets to defeat California in four on Friday at Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. Set scores were 25-22, 37-39, 25-20, 25-16.
Junior élan McCall impressed in her Bruin debut, recording 16 kills and only one error in 28 attempts for a .536 hitting percentage. She was 11-for-14 with no miscues in the final two sets. Freshman Allison Jacobs posted a double-double with 12 kills and 11 digs, while freshman Iman Ndiaye had 11 kills, seven blocks and five digs.
Junior Zoe Fleck produced 16 digs, seven assists and two aces, redshirt junior Emily Ryan had eight kills, six blocks and four digs and senior Sabrina Smith added four blocks. The setting duo of junior Devon Chang (25 assists, four digs) and freshman Kate Lane (27 assists, six digs) helped the Bruins post a .320 hitting percentage for the match.
The Bruins never trailed in the opening set of the season. The only two ties of the first were at 7-all and 14-all. UCLA would score 10 of the next 13 to earn seven set points. May had two kills and an ace during the run, Jacobs posted a kill and ace, McCall added two kills, Ndiaye and Smith teamed up for a block and Cal made a couple of errors. The Bruins thankfully had some cushion, as the Golden Bears reeled off five points in a row before a McCall/Smith block closed out a 25-22 win. McCall paced UCLA with four kills in the first set, while May added three. Ndiaye and Smith both posted three blocks. The Bruins were out-hit .212 to .158.
A marathon second set saw 18 ties, nine lead changes and 76 points scored, with Cal eventually winning to tie the match. A 12-5 UCLA run to start the second set was keyed by three Jacobs kills and a May kill and solo stuff. The Bruins still led by seven, their largest lead of the set, as late as 16-9 before the Golden Bears went on a run. An 8-2 spurt cut Cal's deficit to one at 18-17, and the visitors eventually tied the score at 22. The Golden Bears would have nine set points, while the Bruins had six, but Cal posted the 39-37 win. Jacobs had eight of the Bruins' 19 kills in the second, Ndiaye added four and May posted three. Fleck had five digs and Ryan notched three blocks. The Bruins out-hit Cal .255 to .240.
UCLA didn't trail again in the third set. Up 11-10, the Bruins went on a 6-2 run to take a set-best lead of five at 17-12. McCall had four of the points on kills, while May added one. UCLA's lead remained between three and five for the rest of the set, as the home team took it 25-20. McCall was 6-for-8 with no errors in the third, Ryan was 4-for-5 with no miscues and May had five kills. Fleck added four digs. The Bruins out-hit the Bears .484 to .250.
The Bruins dropped the first point of the fourth set, but scored the next three and led for the rest of the match. Leading 5-4, a 6-2 run on four May kills, a Fleck ace and a McCall kill put UCLA ahead by five at 11-6. Cal would get no closer than three for the rest of the set. Up 21-16, the Bruins closed out the contest with the final four points on a kill by redshirt freshman Anna Dodson, a Cal attack error and successive kills from May and McCall to win the fourth by a score of 25-16. May had nine kills in the final set, McCall was 5-for-6 and Ndiaye posted three kills. Jacobs had six digs and Fleck notched four. The Bruins out-hit Cal .432 to .167.
The Bruins and the Golden Bears wrap up their two-match series on Sunday at 12 p.m. at Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom.