UCLA Drops Five-Set Heartbreaker to USC
LOS ANGELES – Mac May led the Bruins with 21 kills and three service aces as the No. 13-ranked UCLA women's volleyball team lost to USC in five sets, 3-2, Friday evening in the Galen Center.
The Bruins (23-5, 16-4 Pac-12) were knotted with the Trojans (15-15, 10-10 Pac-12) at 18-18 when USC put together a 7-2 run behind two kills from middle blocker Candice Denny to even the match at two sets apiece. The two crosstown rivals traded points in the fifth until outside hitter Brooke Botkin notched her first of five kills in the set to even the score 7-7.
The Trojans never trailed again, defeating the Bruins by a score of 15-10 in the final set.
Botkin and outside hitter Paige Hammons led UCLA with 16 kills each. Opposite hitter Emilia Weske contributed 13 kills in addition to four service aces. USC recorded 14 total service aces.
May recorded her 2,000th career kill in the losing effort, becoming just the fourth Bruin in program history to achieve the feat. She is the first to reach 2,000 career kills since the NCAA's switch to the rally scoring era in 2001. She ranks fourth all-time on UCLA's kill list behind Liz Masakayan (2,044, 1982-85).
After trailing 3-1 to open the first set, the Bruins stormed out to a 9-2 run with two kills from May and one kill from outside hitters élan McCall and Allison Jacobs and middle blocker Francesca Alupei. McCall's last of her three kills in the set – coming on just three swings – pushed the Bruins' out to their largest lead of the set thus far at 18-12, forcing a USC timeout. May scored UCLA's final two points of the first frame to give the Bruins the early advantage.
USC won the second set handily, 25-15, while holding UCLA to .000 for just eight kills and eight attack errors.
The Bruins came out of the locker room and countered with their best hitting performance of the night coming in set three. UCLA racked up 19 kills at a .375 clip. McCall, Jacobs and middle blocker Anna Dodson accounted for 11 of the Bruins' kills for a collective .588 hitting percentage.
The Trojans opened the fourth set with a 6-1 lead before the Bruins compiled an 6-2 run out of a timeout capped off by three consecutive points off back-to-back aces by McCall and a block assist by Dodson and setter Shelby Martin. UCLA and USC were last tied 17-17 before the Trojans began to separate.
Now, UCLA awaits its seeding and first round opponent in the NCAA Tournament as the bracket is unveiled on ESPNU at 5:30 p.m. PT this Sunday, Nov. 28.