No. 16 Bruins Head to USD/SDSU Invitational
LOS ANGELES -- The 16th-ranked Bruins head to San Diego this week for a unique tournament, hosted by San Diego and San Diego State. UCLA will face 25th-ranked USD at the Jenny Craig Pavilion on Thursday, Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. Then the Bruins will face SDSU at Aztec Court at Peterson Gym on Friday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. The final match of the tournament doesn't involve UCLA. USD will travel to SDSU for a head-to-head match on Saturday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. Both UCLA matches will have live stats as well as a live stream with links on the UCLA women's volleyball schedule page.
The Bruins head to Indianapolis for the Bulldog Brawl, hosted by Butler. UCLA will take on the host team Butler at 3:00 p.m. PT on Friday, Sept. 17 at Hinkle Fieldhouse before finishing up the tournament with Milwaukee on Saturday, Sept. 18 at 10 a.m. PT.
SCOUTING THE SAN DIEGO TOREROS
San Diego is currently ranked 25th in the latest AVCA Top 25 Poll, released on Sept. 6. The Toreros are 3-2 on the year, which includes three wins over unranked teams and two losses to ranked teams. USD opened the year with a three-set loss to No. 1 Texas (Aug. 27) and then posted a 3-1 neutral-site win over UTSA (Aug. 28). Last week the Toreros went 2-1 at the Utah Classic, defeating Hawai'i and Cal Poly, 3-0, but falling to No. 19 Utah, 1-3. Junior opposite Grace Frohling leads the team with 3.88 kills per set with senior outside hitter Katie Lukes right behind at 3.57 kps. Isadora Terçariol handles the setting duties and is posting 10.29 assists per set. Senior libero Annie Benbow has played all 17 sets and leads the team averaging 4.06 digs per set.
SERIES HISTORY: UCLA VS. SAN DIEGO
UCLA has won the last two meetings over San Diego and holds a 10-1 advantage all-time. The Bruins won in five (3-2) at USD on Sept. 2, 2018 and 3-0 at a neutral site on Aug. 25, 2017. The Toreros only win the series was a 3-1 home win on Sept. 10, 2016. The Bruins are 2-1 all-time at USD.
SCOUTING THE SAN DIEGO STATE AZTECS
San Diego State is currently 1-5 on the year, but recently took a set off of No. 21 Pepperdine and Kansas State, falling 3-1 in both of those matches on Sept. 4 at the Gaucho Invitational. The day before, the Aztecs swept the hosts, UC Santa Barbara (3-0). In the opening weekend (Aug. 27-28), SDSU was at the Bearkat Invitational at Sam Houston and was swept by Houston Baptist (Aug. 27) and at Sam Houston (Aug. 28), before falling to SH in five (Aug. 28). Senior outside hitter Victoria O'Sullivan leads the team with 3.05 kills per set with senior outside hitter Zoi Faki right behind at 2.73 kps. Junior Ashley Vanderpan (4.59 assists per set) and senior Noa Miller (6.00 assists per set) handle the setting duties. Senior libero Natalie Smith has played all 22 sets and leads the team averaging 4.14 digs per set.
SERIES HISTORY: UCLA VS. SAN DIEGO STATE
UCLA has won the last 12 matches against San Diego State and leads the all-time series, 49-12. The winning streak dates back to 1987, although the two teams have only met once since 1998, at a neutral site, where the Bruins picked up a sweep on Sept. 8, 2012. UCLA is 21-5 all-time at SDSU, which includes a 3-0 sweep on Oct. 8, 1998. The Aztecs' last win in the series was in a five-set thriller at SDSU on Nov. 5, 1986.
POLLING THE BRUINS
The UCLA Bruins jumped two spots to 16th in this week's AVCA rankings (Sept. 6, 2021). UCLA is one of five Pac-12 teams ranked in the Top 25 and one of six receiving votes. UCLA has been ranked in the Top 25 in all three weeks so far (17/preseason, 18/1, 16/2).
CHARITIE LUPER NAMED PAC-12 FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
Charitie Luper was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week (Sept. 6). Luper helped the Bruins remain undefeated on the year (4-0) with three wins at the Long Beach State Tournament (Sept. 2-4). The true freshman outside hitter (Trophy Club, Texas/Byron Nelson HS) had a breakout match for the nationally-ranked Bruins, leading UCLA with a match-high tying 17 kills on .295 hitting in the 3-1 upset win over No. 16 Georgia Tech (Sept. 4). It marked the first time in 12 matches that someone other than Mac May led the Bruins outright in kills in a single match. Luper narrowly missed a double-double against the Yellow Jackets with eight digs. She averaged 3.17 kills per set while hitting .259 in the two matches she played last week. She also averaged 3.6 points per set and 1.5 digs per set. This is the first weekly award for Luper and the first for the Bruins during the 2021 season.
BRUINS SECOND IN THE PAC-12 PRESEASON POLL
The Bruins were picked second in the Pac-12 Conference Preseason Coaches Poll. UCLA earned 101 points, 20 points behind preseason favorite Washington, one ahead of third-place Oregon and six points in front of fourth-place Stanford.
THREE BRUINS NAMED 2021 PRESEASON ALL-PAC-12
Graduate student Mac May (OH/OPP) and seniors Zoe Fleck (DS/L) and élan McCall (OH/OPP) were named to the 2021 Preseason All-Pac-12 Team.
RECAPPING LAST WEEK
The UCLA Bruins went undefeated (3-0) at the Long Beach State Tournament (Sept. 2-4). Mac May led the 18th-ranked Bruins (2-0) with 11 kills and Anna Dodson, Allison Jacobs, and Iman Ndiaye added six kills apiece, as UCLA's offense turned in a dominant performance to earn a sweep at Long Beach State (Sept. 2). Set scores were 25-16, 25-13, 25-21. Then Lexi Hadrych led the 18th-ranked Bruins (3-0) with seven kills and Mac May and Emily Ryan added six kills apiece, as UCLA earned its second straight sweep in a win over Portland State (Sept. 3) at Long Beach State's Walter Pyramid. Set scores were 25-14, 25-10, 25-16. Finally, freshman outside hitter Charitie Luper led the 18th-ranked Bruins (4-0) with a match-high-tying 17 kills as UCLA stung 16th-ranked Georgia Tech (Sept. 4) in four sets on (Sept. 4) at Walter Pyramid. Set scores were 25-11, 25-22, 25-27, 25-11.
NO. 17 BRUINS WIN SEASON OPENER
Mac May led the 17th-ranked Bruins with 21 kills and Anna Dodson and élan McCall added 12 kills apiece, as UCLA posted a four-set victory at UC Davis (Aug. 29) at the University Credit Union Center. Set scores were 21-25, 26-24, 27-25, 25-21. May added eight digs to go with her 17th-career match with at least 20 kills. Dodson hit .526, committing just two errors in 19 attempts with her career-high kill total. McCall was one dig shy of a double-double with nine, adding two aces. Zoe Fleck produced 15 digs, with her first of the season giving her 1,000 for her collegiate career. Shelby Martin set the Bruins to a .282 hitting percentage in her debut, recording 46 assists and five digs. Iman Ndiaye added seven kills and Emily Ryan tallied four.
Mac May, the 29th Bruin to surpass 1,000 kills for her career, the 19th to reach 100 aces and the 13th to do both, had 16 kills in her last match against No. 16 Georgia Tech to bring her career total to 1,561. She is 12th in UCLA history and 14 away from reaching the Top 10. Next up on the kills list are Reily Buechler (11th, 1562) and Kim Krull (10th, 1.575). In the aces department, Jeanne Beauprey (8th, 142) is just ahead of May (9th, 137). Only five Bruins are in the Top 10 in both kills and aces, as May has joined Liz Masakayan, Linda Robertson, Elaine Youngs and Ashley Bowles.
Zoe Fleck recorded the 1,000th dig of her career in the season-opening win over UC Davis (Aug. 29). The reigning Pac-12 Libero of the Year had 635 digs in two seasons at UC Santa Barbara and 364 last year in her first campaign as a Bruin. She has a team-best 56 digs this year (4.00 digs per set), and has reached double-digit kills in all four matches this year.