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No. 17 Bruins Down No. 9 Utah in Four

Mar 12, 2021
Senior Mac May

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LOS ANGELES - Down by as much as eight in the fourth set, the 17th-ranked Bruins staged an epic comeback to knock off No. 9 Utah in four sets on Friday at Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. Set scores were 25-22, 20-25, 25-21, 25-22.

Senior Mac May led all players with 19 kills, adding seven digs and four blocks. Recording double-doubles were junior élan McCall, who had 17 kills and 13 digs to go with two aces, and freshman Kate Lane, who posted 31 assists and 11 digs. Junior Zoe Fleck tallied 19 digs, senior Sabrina Smith and freshman Iman Ndiaye each had seven kills, freshman Audrey Pak notched 20 assists and seven digs and freshman Allison Jacobs had six kills and five digs. The Bruins (11-4) hit .280 for the match.

The first set was the closest with 14 ties and five lead changes. With Utah (10-3) up 14-10, the Bruins scored 15 of the last 23 points to take the opener. A 6-2 run on a May kill and solo block, kills from McCall and Smith and two Ute errors evened the score at 16. Utah scored three of the next five, but back-to-back McCall kills and one from Smith gave the Bruins a two-point advantage. The Utes got the next two to make it 21-all, and after a pair of sideouts, kills by Ndiaye and May gave the Bruins two set points, with a May/Smith block finishing up a 25-22 win. McCall led the Bruins with six kills in the first set, while May and Ndiaye each had three. Fleck added five digs. The Bruins were out-hit by the Utes .345 to .333.

UCLA held as much as a two-point lead at 11-9 before Utah went on an 8-0 run to take command of the second. The Bruins could get no closer than three for the rest of the set, falling 25-20. May and McCall both had four kills, while Fleck and Pak each posted five digs. The Bruins were out-hit .351 to .297. 

The only lead change in set three occurred early on, as down 2-1, the Bruins scored two in a row on a Smith kill and Jacobs ace, and despite one more tie, UCLA didn't trail for the rest of the set. At 3-all, nine of 12 on two kills and an ace by McCall, two May kills, one from Jacobs, a block by Ndiaye and redshirt sophomore Tristin Savage, a Lane ace and a Utah error had the Bruins doubling up the Utes at 12-6. Utah got to within one, but could not get back to even. At 23-21, a McCall kill and a Jacobs/Smith block finished up a 25-21 win. May was 6-for-15 with no errors in the third, McCall added four kills and Smith was 3-for-3. Lane had six digs and Fleck posted five. The Bruins out-hit the Utes .308 to .262.

It appeared the match was headed to a fifth set before the Bruins had other plans. The Utes led 17-9 before the home team rallied back. Four in a row on a Utah error, an Ndiaye kill and back-to-back from May got the Bruins to within four at 17-13. After a Utah sideout, six in a row for the Bruins on a Ute service error, a May solo block and kill, a Utah attack error, a kill by redshirt junior Emily Ryan and another solo stuff from May gave UCLA its first lead of the fourth at 19-18. Utah would score four of the next six to re-take the lead, but kills from Ryan and McCall gave the Bruins the advantage back. A McCall/Ryan block gave UCLA two match points and a McCall kill closed out the 25-22 win. May led the Bruins with six kills in the deciding set, Ryan was 3-for-6 with no errors and McCall had three kills and seven digs. Fleck added four digs. The Bruins out-hit the Utes .195 to .150.

The Bruins host Utah again on Sunday at 12 p.m. A live stream will be available on