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UCLA Guts Out Five-Set Victory in Utah

Nov 5, 2021
Mac May and Francesca Alupei go up for the block (photo courtesy of Han Duong /

SALT LAKE CITY – The No. 13 Bruins were given new life in extra points of the fifth set.
UCLA had fended off a Utah match point at 16-15 earlier in the frame and were tasked to do it once more at 17-16. A swing by senior outside hitter élan McCall was ruled an attack error and subsequently gave the Utes the match victory – until head coach Michael Sealy picked up his challenge card.
The call was overturned and ruled a touch on Utah, evening the set 17-17. McCall struck again for back-to-back kills to put the match point at the Bruins' service line for the third time in the set. On the next play, a Utah attack flew high, capturing the Bruins' (18-3, 11-2 Pac-12) match point and their fifth victory in a row, sealing the season sweep of No. 16 Utah (15-7, 8-5 Pac-12), 3-2, Friday night in the Jon M. Huntsman Center.

The Utes jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the fifth and were riding high off their 8-3 run to close their fourth set win, 25-18. UCLA proceeded to go on a 6-1 run out of Sealy's called timeout with three kills from senior outside hitter Mac May and a kill each by McCall and freshman middle blocker Francesca Alupei.
It was a seesaw affair from that point on with McCall, May and sophomore Allison Jacobs trading points with Utah's Dani Drews. Jacobs was responsible for three of the Bruins four points from points 11-14 in the fifth set with a solo block, kill and service ace to give UCLA its first match point opportunity of the set.
Jacobs recorded a season-high eight kills and four blocks to go along with 12 digs.
McCall and May both contributed four kills in the fifth frame.
May notched her Pac-12-best ninth 20-kill performance of the season in her double-double night with 27 kills and 10 digs. McCall had seven kills to go along with 11 digs – her 10th double digit dig outing of the season.

To start the match, UCLA zipped out to a 7-1 lead with kills from three different Bruins. A block assist by May and Alupei at 21-13 pushed UCLA to an eight-point lead, its largest of the set. Alupei scored four blocks in the first set – one solo and three assists – to lead the Bruins to five blocks in the frame.
UCLA finished the match with 16 total blocks, tying a season-high set earlier this season against Portland State (9/3).
Similar to the end of the fourth set, the Utes closed the first frame on a 7-3 run and took that momentum into the second. May powered back-to-back kills at the end of a 9-3 UCLA run to give the Bruins the lead for the first time since the set's opening points, 18-17, before Utah ultimately evened the match at a set apiece.
Three Bruin blocks – a solo by Dodson and back-to-back assists by Alupei and McCall – paved the way to a Bruin lead early in the third, 6-2. Offensively, Dodson tallied four kills in the third set.

Dodson set a career-high with 14 kills at a .458 hitting percentage in the match with five total blocks.
Other Notable Performances
Graduate setter Shelby Martin: 54 assists, four digs
Senior libero Zoe Fleck: 13 digs, 20 receptions (.952 reception percentage)
Next Up
The Bruins close out their weekend road trip at Colorado on Sunday, Nov. 7, at 11 a.m. PT in the CU Events Center.