Buffs Host No.12 UCLA
BOULDER — Colorado volleyball enters new territory in school history with its seventh and eighth consecutive match against top-25 opponents this weekend when No.12 UCLA comes to town Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m.
The Buffaloes (4-6 Pac-12) have lost six-straight, the fourth-longest such streak in CU's Pac-12 history, while the Bruins (9-3) come to Boulder having won four-straight against both Arizona schools. The eight-matches against ranked opponents is not only the most in CU volleyball history but also the most in school history for any sport.
The biggest question moving forward for the Buffaloes will be the offense, as fifth-year head coach Jesse Mahoney brought back out the 6-2 offense Sunday against then-ranked #22 Oregon. Colorado stole the first set before dropping the next three as it tried out the Brynna DeLuzio and Jenna Ewert 6-2 offense that led the Buffs to a 13-10 record in 2018 before DeLuzio's season ended short due to injury.
Middle blocker and slide specialist Rachael Fara sat out Sunday's match and will be a key component to the decision to go with a traditional 5-1 offense or stick with the 6-2. Fara's ability to hit efficiently and effectively in two-hitter rotations when the setter is in the front row is a huge aspect of her game and one of the biggest reasons to keep to the 5-1 when she is healthy.
With Fara sitting, Meegan Hart picked up a significant part of the offense and was one of the only truly effective pieces last Sunday. She led the team with 11 kills while Alexia Kuehl picked up her third start and put down five blocks. The Buffs struggled to hit against the block Sunday, hitting into 15 in the loss to the Ducks.
Defensively, Colorado showed one of its strongest digging performances on Sunday as Leah Clayton had 19, Ewert had 17, Katie Lougeay moved to libero and had 16, and Jill Schneggenburger added 11.
SCOUTING THE BRUINS
The Bruins have defeated every opponent they've face at least once with key wins against Washington, Washington State and Oregon. In those three matches UCLA split the weekend. The Bruins have swept Cal, Arizona State and Arizona. The only five-set match was the team's win against Washington.
UCLA is led by All-American Mac May at outside hitter. She has the Bruins in the top-30 in the NCAA in kills per set with as the team averages a conference-best 14 kills per set. May's 4.49 kills per set is second in the conference and 19th in the nation, while she also is 16th in points per set as she is 82nd in the nation in aces per set. UCLA also has the second-best libero in the conference in Zoe Fleck with 4.27 digs per set.
The Bruins have a run three different setters this season, Kate Lane, Devon Chang and Audrey Pak. Lane leads the trio with 249 assists, but Pak has the most assists per set in their 6-2 offense with seven. Upfront, Emily Ryan has a team-best 1.21 blocks per set.