No. 16 Women's Volleyball Hosts Colorado, Utah
No. 24 Colorado (11-2, 2-2 Pac-12) at No. 16 UCLA (10-2, 3-1 Pac-12)
Date/Time: Friday, Oct. 8, 2021 -- 8 p.m. PT
Location: Los Angeles
Venue: Pauley Pavilion
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Talent: Anne Marie Anderson
Stream: Pac-12.com / Pac-12 App
No. 15 Utah (10-3, 3-1 Pac-12) at No. 16 UCLA (10-2, 3-1 Pac-12)
Date/Time: Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021 -- 12 p.m. PT
Location: Los Angeles
Venue: Pauley Pavilion
Stream: UCLA Live Stream
No. 16 UCLA to face No. 24 Colorado and No. 15 Utah
The 16th-ranked Bruins return to Pauley Pavilion for a pair of Top 25 contests versus No. 24 Colorado on Friday, Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. PT and No. 15 Utah on Oct. 10 at 12 p.m. UCLA's match against Colorado will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks, and its match with Utah will be available for streaming on UCLA's live stream on Pac-12.com. Live stats will be available on UCLABruins.com.
Recapping Last Week
The Bruins split its weekend road trip to No. 13 Washington and Washington State, both ending in five sets. With UCLA up two sets to one, graduate outside hitter slammed seven of her team-high 20 kills in the fourth set versus the Huskies, including one to knot the score at 24-24. After sophomore middle blocker Iman Ndiaye put the match point on the line with a kill, Washington recorded three straight points to even the match at two sets apiece and went on to take the fifth and final frame. Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Anna Dodson also tallied 10 kills, and senior outside hitter élan McCall recorded eight kills in addition to her 14 digs.
Behind a career-best 39 kills by May, UCLA rallied in the final two sets to defeat Washington State in extra points in the fifth. The Bruins faced five Cougar match points in the fifth set, but UCLA answered each put away attempt. May kept the match alive twice with two kills, a block by Emily Ryan and Allison Jacobs then made it 16-all and kills by Dodson and McCall continued the match into the 17th and 18th points. In turn, the Bruins needed just one attempt with the match point on the line, leading to a McCall service ace. UCLA needed to take the last two frames after dropping a tight third set that, at one point, saw the score tied at 22-22. Down 9-5 in the fourth, the Bruins went on a 12-2 run to take the lead, beginning with three May kills. Jacobs and Dodson added one and two kills, respectively, and Jacob dealt a service ace. May proceeded to rack up four more kills before a McCall solo block ended the frame. McCall also picked up her first double-double of the season with 12 kills and 13 digs on a .953 reception percentage.
May I Introduce You To...
Mac May's 39 kills in Pullman surpassed her career high by nine kills and established both the most kills by a Bruin in a conference match in program history as well as the second-highest, single-match kill total in program history. It had been 30 years since Natalie Williams recorded more with her 43 kills in a September match versus Hawaii in 1991. The 39 kills -- the most by any Pac-12 player this season -- also tied for the sixth most by a player in conference single-match history. In addition to hitting an efficient .357 on her 84 swings, May achieved a double-double with 15 digs. In the match, she recorded nine kills in the second, fourth and fifth sets. May also picked up 20 kills in the first match of the weekend versus the Huskies. She has now recorded 20 kills or more in four matches this season. Her 59 kills last weekend pushed her from seventh to fifth all-time on UCLA's career kill leaderboard, passing Elaine Youngs (1,664, 1988-92) and Kara Milling (1,691, 1994-97) with 1,716 career kills. Standing in front of May in fourth place is Linda Robertson (1,768, 1978-81). May ranks second in the Pac-12 in both kills per set (4.35) and points per set (4.94).
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 six matches, Alupei is second on the team with a .311 hitting percentage (min. 20 kills) and second in blocks (20) and blocks/set (0.91). Against the Trojans (9/22), 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. At Washington, Alupei tied her season-high seven kills and tallied another three blocks.
Back Row Bruins
Seniors Zoe Fleck and élan McCall have been leading the defensive charge in UCLA's back row. Fleck, the reigning Pac-12 Libero of the Year, has led the Bruins in digs in every match this season and ranks fifth in the conference with 4.06 digs per set. She has recorded double-digit digs in all 34 matches of her UCLA career. Fleck's digs have come in the more spectacular variety, and most recently brought the Bruins' crowd of 6,623 in their home opener to their feet on multiple occasions. McCall leads UCLA's pin hitters with 2.29 digs per set, and ranks second on the team with 112 total digs. The two have helped keep opponents to a .163 hitting percentage, good for second-best in the conference. McCall leads the Bruins with 17 service aces, averaging 0.35 per set. Head coach Michael Sealy, who will employ up to 11 players a match on his roster, frequently subs in senior defensive specialist Kelsey Campeau to the service line where she has averaged a team-best 0.53 points per serve. Campeau averages 0.12 service aces per set.
Scouting the Buffaloes
After an undefeated preseason with nine wins, No. 24 Colorado started its Pac-12 schedule 2-2 with victories over No. 15 Utah and Oregon State and losses to Washington State and No. 11 Oregon. In the Buffaloes' four-set loss to the Ducks last Friday, they hit sub-.100 in set two and sub-.150 in sets three and four while getting outblocked 24-10. Sophomore outside hitter Maya Tabron and junior Jill Schneggenburger both recorded double-doubles (K/D) in the contest. Colorado finished the weekend on a high note with a sweep at Oregon State in which the Buffaloes hit a collective .322 for 39 kills. Against the Cougars, who the Bruins beat in five sets last Sunday, the Buffaloes were swept in three and held to a .188 hitting percentage. Washington State's two kill leaders in the match -- Kaylah Williams and Magda Jehlarova -- hit .421 and .348 for each of their respective 10 kills. Colorado ranks in the top four in the Pac-12 in hitting percentage (4th, .257), kills per set (2nd, 13.70), assists per set (12.15), opponent hitting percentage (3rd, .166), digs per set (2nd, 15.68) and blocks per set (2nd, 2.67). Graduate Leah Clayton ranks third in the Pac-12, just behind Mac May, with 4.33 kills per set. Redshirt sophomore Alexia Kuehl and redshirt senior Meegan Hart are sixth and seventh in blocks per set with 1.18 and 1.15, respectively. Redshirt senior Brynna Deluzio leads the Pac-12 with 4.85 digs per set.
Scouting the Utes
No. 15 Utah is off to a 3-1 start in Pac-12 play with ranked wins over No. 6 Washington and No. 11 Oregon. The Utes' loss came to the Bruins' first upcoming opponent of the weekend, Colorado. The Buffaloes hit .351 in their sweep of the Utes behind Clayton and Tabron's combined 25 kills. Hart led the Colorado with four of the team's 13 total blocks. Utah stifled Oregon State's attack to a .062 hitting clip and 25 attack errors with 17 Ute blocks. Graduate outside hitter Dani Drew led Utah with 13 kills on 24 swings in the contest. The Utes kept pace with the Ducks Pac-12 leading block defense in their four-set upset of Oregon, handing the Ducks their lowest hitting percenage of a match this season (.173). Drews, who led the Utes with 19 blocks in the match, ranks first in the Pac-12 with 4.67 kills per set and 5.28 points per set.
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 seven weeks so far (17/preseason, 18/1, 16/2, 19/3, 19/4, 15/5, 16/6).