Bruins Take on Washington, Washington State
No. 15 UCLA (9-1. 2-0 Pac-12) at No. 13 Washington (7-3, 0-2 Pac-12)
Date/Time: Friday, Oct. 1, 2021 -- 8 p.m. PT
Location: Seattle, Wash.
Venue: Edmundson Pavilion
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Talent: A.J. Kanell
Stream: Pac-12.com / Pac-12 App
No. 15 UCLA (9-1, 2-0 Pac-12) at Washington State (8-4, 2-0 Pac-12)
Date/Time: Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021 -- 11 a.m. PT
Location: Pullman, Wash.
Venue: Bohler Gym
Watch: Pac-12 Insider
Talent: Steve Grubbs
Stream: Pac-12.com / Pac-12 App
No. 15 UCLA Takes on Washington, Washington State
The 15th-ranked Bruins continue their three-game road slate at No. 13 Washington on Friday, Oct. 1 at 8 p.m. at Edmundson Pavilion and Washington State on Sunday, Oct. 3 at 11 a.m. Washington will be UCLA's fourth ranked opponent this season. Both matches will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks. Live stats will be available on UCLABruins.com.
Bruins Start 2-0 in Pac-12
The Bruins opened up Pac-12 play in front of 6,6623 fans with an emphatic 3-1 victory over crosstown rival USC last Wednesday, Sept. 22. Freshman outside hitter Charitie Luper strung together kills in bunches in the second, third and fourth sets, finishing with a match-high 19 kills. Senior libero Zoe Fleck dug out 13 Trojan kill attempts, including six in the final set to hold USC to a .000 hitting percentage in the fourth frame. In addition to graduate outside hitter Mac May's 13 kills, she was active defensively with 12 digs, marking her third double-double of the season. élan McCall also posted 10 digs in the showing. McCall leads all pin hitters and middles on the team with 2.18 digs/set. In UCLA's first road Pac-12 contest, it reverse swept No. 14 Stanford in an upset victory for the Bruins' first win in Maples Pavilion since 2016. UCLA trailed 15-11 in the third set after dropping the first two sets when Luper notched a kill to sideout and go on a six-point run at the service line. Luper posted six kills in the set and led the Bruins with a match-high 18 kills once more. The Bruins opened with a 6-3 lead in the fourth set thanks to two kills by Luper and an ace by McCall -- one of four aces by McCall in the match. Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Anna Dodson led UCLA with 5.5 points (4 K/1.5 BLK) in the frame. Graduate outside hitter Mac May, who recorded four kills in set four, connected for another three to put Stanford away in the fifth, 15-9. Fleck recorded another six digs in the put-away set to stall the Cardinal attack to .038. Sophomore middle blocker Iman Ndiaye recorded 16 kills in the two matches.
Luper Dominates September
Luper, the high-flying, 5-9 pin hitter out of Dallas, Texas, garnered her second Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honor in the month of September on Monday, Sept. 27. Luper has led the Bruins in kills for three consecutive matches (18-19-18) while hitting an outstanding .397 across those 13 sets. Luper put on a full display of athleticism in front of the first indoor event with fans in Pauley Pavilion, scoring three straight Bruin points in the second set, five straight in the third and four straight in the fourth. At Stanford, Luper recorded six kills in both the second and third sets and finished the match with 18 kills and 13 digs en route to her second career double-double. Luper led the Bruins with 40.5 points on the weekend.
Along with Luper, freshman middle blocker Francesca Alupei has been a focal point of the Bruin defense and contributed as an efficient attacker since being subbed into the third set at Butler (9/17). In those four matches, Alupei leads the team in hitting percentage (.421) and in blocks/set (1.21), and is second behind Dodson in total blocks (17). Alupei has assisted on 13 blocks in her last three starts, including seven versus USC. Against the Trojans, three of Alupei's blocks came in the final in which she also recorded two of the last three Bruin points off kills. Alupei finished the USC match with six kills at a .333 clip. She posted three more kills and block assists, respectively, at Stanford.
The reigning Pac-12 Libero of the Year Zoe Fleck has led the Bruins in digs in every match this season and has helped keep opponents to a .143 hitting percentage, good for second-best in the conference. Fleck kept multiple kill opportunities alive for UCLA in its home opener versus USC with digs of the more spectacular variety. Earlier this season, Fleck recorded the 1,000th dig of her career in the Bruins' season-opening win over UC Davis (8/29). Fleck's 157 digs leads the team and is fifth-best in the Pac-12.
Westwood Block Party
Also contributing the low opponent hitting percentage is UCLA's defense at the net. The Bruins lead the Pac-12 with 2.92 blocks/set and are second in total blocks with 114 in 39 sets plated. Middle blockers Alupei (37 BLK) and Dodson (45 BLK) rank third and sixth in blocks per set at 1.23 and 1.18, respectively. May and graduate setter Shelby Martin are also responsible for 25 blocks apiece.
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, leapfrogged Patty Orozco (1,630, 1980-83) amd Ashley Bowles (1,656, 1998-01) to seventh place on UCLA's all-time kill leader board at Stanford. May currently has 1,657 career kills and needs seven more to surpass 1991 NCAA Champion Elaine Youngs (1,664, 1988-92). May is two kills away from moving into seventh place ahead of Ashley Bowles (143, 1998-01) on UCLA's all-time aces leader board.
Scouting the Huskies
No. 13 Washington slid from its sixth-place ranking in the AVCA Coaches Poll on Monday after dropping both of its first two Pac-12 matches versus Utah and Washington State in five sets last weekend. The Huskies, who are 7-3 on the year, out blocked the Utes 22-14 and saw four of their players record double-digit kills in the loss. In Sunday's meeting with Washington State at the Boeing Apple Cup, the two programs put together an unbelievable fourth set that included 90 points and ultimately went in Washington's favor, 46-44. The Huskies saved 12 match points in the set. Senior outside hitter Samantha Dreschel led the Huskies with 20 kills in the match. Washington's other loss came at the hands of No. 11 Ohio State in four sets. Outside hitters Claire Hoffman (117), Dreschel (115) and Marin Grote are the Huskies' top attack options. Grote leads the Huskies and is third in the Pac-12 with a .415 hitting percentage.
Series History: UCLA at Washington
UCLA holds a 12-win advantage all-time over Washington with a 45-33 record. As of recent, the Bruins have only won two of their last 15 meetings with the Huskies. The two programs split last year's series.
Scouting the Cougars
Washington State improved to 8-4 last weekend after defeating a pair of ranked Pac-12 opponents in No. 24 Colorado and No. 6 Washington. The Cougars swept the Buffaloes in three sets behind two 10-kill performances by middle blockers Kalyah Williams and Magda Jehlarova. In Washington State's upset of Washington, outside hitter Pia Timmer recorded a double-double of 31 kills (.303 hitting percentage), 21 digs, seven blocks and four aces. The Cougars have three of their attackers -- Jehlarova, Williams and opposite Katy Ryan -- ranked in the Top 10 of the Pac-12 in hitting percentage. As a team, Washington State is fourth in the conference in kills/set (13.58), assists/set (12.26) and aces/set (1.56).
Series History: UCLA at Washington State
The Bruins hold the upper hand in all-time meetings with the Cougars with a 57-12 record. The two teams split last year's two matches which went five and four sets.
Polling the Bruins
The UCLA Bruins climbed to 15th in this week's AVCA rankings (Sept. 27, 2021). UCLA is one of six Pac-12 teams currently ranked in the Top 25. UCLA has been ranked in the Top 25 in all six weeks so far (17/preseason, 18/1, 16/2, 19/3, 19/4, 15/5).