Luper's 19 Kills Leads UCLA to Victory over USC
LOS ANGELES – Freshman outside hitter Charitie Luper brought a Bruin crowd of 6,623 to their feet on multiple occasions in No. 19 UCLA's home opener versus crosstown rival USC.
Luper scored in bunches in the final three sets, eventually finishing with a team-high 19 kills in the Bruins' (8-1, 1-0 Pac-12) four-set victory over the Trojans (4-6, 0-1 Pac-12) on Wednesday night in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. It was Luper's second match in a row leading UCLA in kills. Set scores were 25-21, 25-20, 21-25, 25-14.
Luper strung together a scoring run of three points in the second set featuring two high-flying displays of athleticism, and in the third set she accounted for five consecutive kills for the Bruins.
Watch @cluper11 fly in for her fifth kill of the set 🦅 She's hitting at a .727 clip in the match!
S2: UCLA 19, USC 16
— UCLA Women's Volleyball (@UCLAWomensVB) September 23, 2021
Reigning Pac-12 Libero of the Year senior Zoe Fleck extended her streak to nine matches as the team leader in digs with 13 against the Trojan attackers. Fleck kept multiple kill opportunities alive for the Bruins and enabled their .333 hitting percentage. Collectively, UCLA has now hit at a .300+ clip for four matches this season.
Prior to that, graduate outside hitter Mac May opened with six kills to help UCLA to a first-set victory. May finished the night with 13 kills, reaching double-digit kills in five straight matches and for the eighth time this season.
Sophomore outside hitter Iman Ndiaye also made her first appearance in front of a large home faithful and matched Luper's five kills in the second set with five of her own on just six swings. The two combined for 10 kills at a .692 clip in the frame.
Graduate setter Shelby Martin assisted on 15 kills in the second set and finished the match with 45 assists – her fourth 40+ assist outing of the season.
Martin got in on the attack action by recording three of her five kills in the fourth frameon dumps over the net. Luper helped seal the win with another scoring run of four consecutive UCLA kills. The Bruin block party extinguished any possibility of a five-setter with three blocks to send the Trojans home with a .000 hitting percentage in the final set.
The Bruins concluded the match with seven team blocks.
UCLA travels to No. 14 Stanford (6-3, 1-0 Pac-12) for its first ranked Pac-12 meeting of the season at Maples Pavilion on Sunday, Sept. 26 at 2 p.m. PT.