UCLA to Face Washington State, Washington
LOS ANGELES – No. 16 UCLA will face ranked opponents for the eighth and ninth time this season when No. 22 Washington State and No. 8 Washington come to Westwood on Friday, Oct. 29, at 7 p.m. PT and Sunday, Oct. 31, at 4 p.m. PT. UCLA's match with Washington State will be televised on Pac-12 Los Angeles and its match with Washington will be televised on ESPNU. Live stats are available on UCLABruins.com. Graduate outside hitter Mac May is second in the Pac-12 with 4.69 kills per set and leads the conference with seven 20-kill matches.
MATCH INFORMATION: No. 22 Washington State (13-7, 7-3 Pac-12) at No. 16 UCLA (15-3, 8-2 Pac-12)
Venue: Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom
Television: Pac-12 Los Angeles
TV Talent: Camryn Irwin
Audio Talent: Darren Preston
MATCH INFORMATION: No. 8 Washington (15-3, 8-2 Pac-12) at No. 16 UCLA (15-3, 8-2 Pac-12)
Venue: Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom
TV Talent: Courtney Lyle (PxP), Karch Kiraly (Analyst)
Audio Talent: Darren Preston
Sweep, Sweep Victory
The Bruins made quick work of their competition last weekend, picking up their third and fourth home sweeps of the season versus No. 16 Oregon (10/22) and Oregon State (10/24). UCLA tallied the most digs (76), most kills (54) and most assists (53) by any Pac-12 team in a three-set match this season in its straight-set victory over the Ducks. Senior outside hitter élan McCall surpassed her career high in digs by six when she dug out 28 balls -- tied for most in program history in a three-set match (Lainey Gera, 2011). Graduate setter Shelby Martin's 47 assists (15.67) were also the most by any Pac-12 player in a three-set match this season. All 12 of the Bruins' first points of the opening set came via a kill at a .385 hitting percentage. With UCLA up only two points at 8-6, freshman outside hitter Charitie Luper strung together four consecutive kills for UCLA to extend its lead to 11-7. Luper finished the set with 10 kills. Twenty of the Bruins' points were kills in the first set. They went on to tally another 18 and 16 kills in sets two and three, respectively. Graduate outside hitter Mac May slammed 10 of her match-high 24 kills -- the most by a Pac-12 player in a three-set match this season -- in the second set as well. UCLA earned its conference-best fourth home sweep of the season over the Beavers two days later. May and Luper led the Bruins with 14 and 13 kills apiece.
May I Introduce You To...
Mac May now leads the Pac-12 with seven 20-kill matches following her sixth double-double of the season against Oregon (10/22) featuring 24 kills and 11 digs. She has now recorded double-digit kills in 17 of 18 matches. She needs two more 20-kill performances to tie a season-high nine 20-kill matches set in 2019. May leads the Pac-12 in conference play with 4.97 kills per set and 5.38 points per set in UCLA's 10 matches. May won Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week on Oct. 4, 2021, following a 59-kill weekend at Washington and Washington State. Her 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 that match, she recorded nine kills in the second, fourth and fifth sets. May stands alone in third place on UCLA's all-time kills list at 1,826, 174 behind joining the illustrious 2,000-kill club and 218 back of Liz Masakayan (2,044, 1982-85). May ranks second in the Pac-12 in both kills per set (4.69) and points per set (5.24).
Charitie Luper earned her fourth Pac-12 Freshman ot the Week honor on Monday, Oct. 25 (last three came on 9/6, 9/27 and 10/12). Only two other players in program history have won four or more weekly conference awards: Karsta Lowe (4, 2014) and Natalie Williams (5, 1990). Luper, the high-flying 5-9 pin hitter out of Dallas, Texas, notched her fourth double-double of the season in her 16-kill, 12-dig performance versus the Ducks (10/22). She established a career-high with 20 kills versus Utah on Sunday, Oct. 11. Luper ranks ninth in the conference and leads all Pac-12 freshmen in both kills per set (3.67) and points per set (4.20). She ranks fourth in the Pac-12 in conference play with 4.14 kills per set and 4.79 points per set. She is second on the team with a .295 hitting percentage (min. 150 TA), and has led the Bruins in kills in four matches this season. Luper's 19 kills versus USC (9/22) were the most by a Bruin freshman in a home opener since Kristee Porter (1998-01).
Pac-12's Strongest 1-2 Punch
May and Luper lead all Pac-12 scoring tandems in combined kills per set (8.36) and combined points per set (9.44). In Pac-12 play, May and Luper both rank top five in the conference in both kills per set and points per set; May is first in both kps (4.97) and pps (5.38), and Luper is fourth in both kps (4.14) and pps (4.79).
Party Like It's 1999
UCLA is tied for first place atop the Pac-12 standings this season for the first time since 1999. The Bruins made it to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Regionals that season. Head coach Michael Sealy has guided the Bruins to a 15-3, 8-2 record through the first 18 matches of the Fall 2021 season for UCLA's best start since its NCAA National Championship campaign in 2011. In that 2011 season, UCLA went 22-3 before picking up its fourth loss of the year to Oregon in five sets.
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 17 of 18 matches this season and ranks fourth in the Pac-12 with 4.13 digs per set. The one match Fleck didn't lead in digs, McCall tied a program record in a three-set match with 28 dug out balls. She ranks second amongst Pac-12 pin hitters with 2.74 digs per set (167 digs). The two have helped keep opponents to a .172 hitting percentage, good for second best in the conference. McCall leads the Pac-12 with a 0.42 aces per set. McCall served up a career-high five service aces in the Bruins' win over Utah, including three in the first set and one to seal the set point in the second frame.
Home Sweet Home
Playing in front of a home crowd for the first time in over a year, the Bruins are a perfect 5-0 at home with a Pac-12-best four home sweeps in Pauley Pavilion. Only one match has gone past three sets: UCLA's 3-1 victory over USC in the Bruins' home opener (9/22). UCLA leads the Pac-12 in home matches with a .336 team hitting percentage (next closest is Stanford at .299), 15.50 kills per set and 14.44 assists per set. Luper owns a team-best .363 hitting percentage while averaging 4.75 kills per set in the Bruins' home matches. May is right behind her with a .292 hitting percentage and 5.31 kills per set. Martin is the Bruins' top facilitator, averaging 12.69 assists per set with a .466 assist percentage.
UCLA owns a combined 251-point advantage (1,532-1,281) over its opponents through the first four sets of the 18 matches this season. The Bruins are outscoring their foes 418-356 in set one and 448-353 in set two, only losing the second frame in one match this season.
The UCLA Bruins are ranked 16th in this week's AVCA rankings (Oct. 25, 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 10 weeks so far (17/preseason, 18/1, 16/2, 19/3, 19/4, 15/5, 16/6, 14/7, 17/8. 16/9). UCLA is the highest ranked Pac-12 team in the NCAA's latest RPI at 11th place (Oct. 24). UCLA leads all Pac-12 schools with seven weekly awards (one Offensive POW, two Defensive POW and four Freshman POW), tying a program record set in 2016 with still five weeks left of the regular season.
Scouting the Cougars and Huskies
Since losing to UCLA on Oct. 3 in five sets, the Cougars have went 5-1 with five sweeps. Washington State's lone loss in that stretch came at home in a five setter to No. 15 Stanford (10/22). Similar to the Bruins, the Cougars also swept then-No. 13 Oregon on Oct. 17. Junior outside hitter Pia Timmer remains Washington State's top point scorer, averaging 3.97 kills per set which is fifth-best in the conference. Second in the Cougars' offensive attack is junior middle blocker Magda Jehlarova with 2.33 kills per set at a team-high .369 hitting percentage. Jehlarova is second in the Pac-12 in blocks per set (1.39). Redshirt junior setter Hannah Pukis paces Washington State and is second in the conference with 10.76 assists per set. Washington is currently riding an eight-match winning streak, beginning with its reverse sweep victory over the Bruins on Oct. 1. The Huskies rank second in the Pac-12 hitting percentage (.282), assists per set (12.43) and service aces (1.59). Junior outside hitter Claire Hoffman leads the team and ranks sixth in the conference with 3.85 kills per set