No. 13 Seed UCLA Hosts Fairfield in NCAA First Round Friday
LOS ANGELES – No. 13 seed UCLA (23-5, 16-4 Pac-12) will begin postseason play on Friday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. PT against Metro Atlantic champion Fairfield (24-8, 16-2 MAAC) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The match will be live streamed on ESPN+. Tickets are on sale now at uclabruins.com/tickets. The winner of the UCLA-Fairfield match will advance to the second round to face the winner of UCF (26-6, 19-1 AAC) vs. Pepperdine (22-5, 14-4 WCC) on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. PT. In the other half of the quadrant is Big 10 champion No. 4 seed Wisconsin, Texas Tech, FGCU and Colgate.
Venue: Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom
First Serve: 7:02 p.m. PT (subject to change)
Talent: Darren Preston
Live Stats: NCAA Website
• UCLA finished the regular season with a 23-5 record (.824)
• The Bruins posted 16 conference wins for their most in a season since UCLA's 17 wins in 2011, resulting in a national title
• UCLA has defeated a Pac-12 opponent in straight sets (3-0) a conference-best 11 times this season
• Mac May eclipsed 2,000 career kills, becoming the fourth Bruin to join UCLA's 2,000 kill club and first in the rally scoring era
• UCLA trots out three transfers in its starting lineup: L Zoe Fleck, S Shelby Martin and OH/OPP élan McCall
BRUINS IN THE NCAA POSTSEASON
• UCLA was seeded No. 13 in the NCAA Tournament after a second-place finish in the Pac-12
• This is UCLA's third-straight and 38th overall appearance in the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Tournament
• The Bruins have qualified in 38 of 41 NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournaments
• UCLA is 32-1 all-time in 1st-rd. matches (no 1st rd. in 1981, 1982-85), its last 1st-rd. loss coming to Loyola Marymount in 1986
• The Bruins have won four NCAA Championships in program history: 1984, 1990, 1991, 2011
• The Bruins have appeared in seven NCAA title games: 1981, 1983, 1984, 1990, 1991, 1994, 2011
• UCLA has not advanced to the third round since 2017, the quarterfinals since 2016 and past regionals since 2011
UCLA AGAINST THE NCAA FIELD
UCLA posted an 8-3 record against members of the 64-team NCAA Tournament field this season. The Bruins have wins over No. 8 seed Georgia Tech, No. 15 seed Washington, Oregon and Stanford, and two wins over both Washington State and Utah.
LEGENDARY PAULEY PAVILION
Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom will have now hosted the first rounds of the NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament 15 times in the tournament's history. The John Wooden Center has also hosted the first rounds 11 times. Pauley Pavilion has also been the host of the NCAA Women's Volleyball Regionals and Nationals six times.
LAST TIME OUT: UCLA FINISHES SECOND IN THE PAC-12
No. 13 UCLA picked up its Pac-12-leading 11th conference sweep of the season when it defeated Cal 3-0 on Nov. 24 to secure a perfect 10-0 regular season home record for the first time since the 1999 season. The Bears trailed UCLA for the entirety of the first two sets until gaining their first lead in the first points of the third. A kill and three service aces from outside hitter Mac May amidst a 6-0 UCLA run quickly seized Cal's momentum, as the Bruins went up 6-2 and on to win in straight sets with scores of 25-17, 25-21 and 25-20. May totaled 23 points off a match-high 17 kills and six service aces. UCLA split its weekend following a five-set loss to crosstown rival USC, handing the Bruins a second-place finish in the Pac-12. May led UCLA with 21 kills and three service aces.
THANK YOU FOR PAULEY ROCKING
Playing in front of a home crowd for the first time in over a year, UCLA is 10-0 at home with eight combined sweeps in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom and the John Wooden Center. At home, the Bruins are averaging 13.97 assists per set and are hitting at a blistering .326 clip to average 15.03 kills per set. All three statistical figures lead the Pac-12 in its home splits. May leads the Bruins with 5.18 kills per set at a .312 hitting percentage, and middle blocker Anna Dodson paces the squad with a .412 hitting percentage for 1.97 kills per set. Martin averages 12.00 assists for a .480 assist percentage. UCLA's home opener versus USC on Sept. 22 saw a crowd of 6,623, setting a new regular season home attendance record previously set in 1995 (6,215 vs. ASU).
ONE OF THE ALL-TIME GREATS
Outside hitter Mac May recorded her 2,000th career kill in a 27-point performance (21 kills, 3 aces) at USC last Friday on Nov. 26, becoming the fourth Bruin in program history and first since the beginning of the rally scoring era (2001-present) to achieve the feat. She ranks fourth among all active career kill leaders. Her 14 aces in the Bruins' last three matches skyrocketed her to fourth all-time on UCLA's all-time career ace list with 173 career aces. May is just the second Bruin with at least 2,000 career kills and 170 career aces (Liz Masakayan [1982-85], 2,044 kills and 259 aces). May, at 2,002 career kills as of Nov. 26, needs 43 more kills to surpass Liz Masakayan and crack UCLA's top three career kill leaders. May is UCLA's all-time leader with 499 sets played. Next closest is Nellie Spicer and Lainey Gera both with 480 sets played.
BRUINS FROM THE SERVICE LINE
UCLA produced its top two ace outputs of the season over its last three matches after dealing 14 and 13 aces against Arizona on Nov. 21 and against California on Nov. 24, respectively. The Bruins' 14 and 13 service aces rank first and second in the Pac-12 for a three-set match this season. Mac May's career-high eight service aces in UCLA's three-set win against the Wildcats tied a program record set by both Liz Masakayan in 1983 and Bojana Todorovic in 2011, as well as are the most by a Pac-12 player in a match this season. May followed that performance up with the second-most service aces in a single match in her career with six against California.
UCLA DOMINATES THE PAC-12 END-OF-SEASON AWARDS
The Pac-12 office announced its yearly awards on Monday, Nov. 29. Mac May was honored as Pac-12 Player of the Year, Zoe Fleck was awarded Pac-12 Libero of the Year and head coach Michael Sealy garnered his first Pac-12 Coach of the Year accolade. May, who averaged 4.76 kills per set, is the second Bruin in program history to win the award twice (Daiva Tomkus, 1988 and 1989). UCLA has now won seven Pac-12 Player of the Year awards. Fleck, who averages 3.94 digs per set, is the first Bruin to win back-to-back Pac-12 Libero of the Year awards since Taylor Formico (2016 and 2017). Joining May and Fleck on the All-Pac-12 Team is middle blocker Anna Dodson for the first selection of her career. Outside hitter élan McCall and setter Shelby Martin were named Honorable Mention.
MAY-KING HISTORY IN PULLMAN
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 against the Cougars on Oct. 3 surpassed her career high by nine kills and were 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 43 kills versus Hawaii in September 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.
SHELBY ANSWERS THE CALL
Coming into the program after the Spring 2021 season as a graduate transfer from Kansas State, Shelby Martin became the first Bruin since Sarah Sponcil in 2017 to achieve a 1,000-assist season after totaling 31 assists versus Arizona. Martin surpassed 4,000 careers assists with a 39-assist performance in the Bruins' 3-0 win over Colorado on Sunday, Nov. 7.
JACOBS' HOT HAND
Since entering the starting lineup in UCLA's match at Utah on Nov. 5, Allison Jacobs has recorded double-digit kills on three occasions and scored at least six kills or more over the eight matches. Jacobs is averaging 2.75 kills in that span for a .229 hitting percentage. Jacobs has also been active defensively, averaging 2.25 digs per set in the eight matches and achieving double-digit digs on four occasions. Jacobs set a career high with 15 kills at a .462 clip along with seven digs in the Bruins' sweep of Colorado on Nov. 7. Against Arizona State on Nov. 19, Jacobs registered nine kills, three service aces, a solo block and block assist on her way to scoring 13.5 points.
A.D. RUNS LOS ANGELES
Anna Dodson has become more involved in UCLA's attack the past eight matches, registering four of her six double-digit kill performances on the season in that span. Against Utah on Nov. 5, Dodson tallied a career-high 14 kills and followed that with 10 more kills against the Buffs on Sunday, Nov. 7. She stretched her double-digit kill streak to three matches after striking for 11 kills at Oregon State on Nov. 11. Against Arizona State last Friday, Dodson scored 10 kills on just 15 swings in addition to four blocks. She has hit for a collective 69 kills at a .450 hitting percentage over UCLA's last eight matches.
BACK ROW BRUINS
Seniors Zoe Fleck and élan McCall have been leading the defensive charge in UCLA's back row. Two-time Pac-12 Libero of the Year Zoe Fleck has led the Bruins in digs in 25 of 28 matches this season and ranks fifth in the Pac-12 with 3.94 digs per set. Fleck was awarded Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week following her 27-dig performance versus the Cougars which established a new career-high. Second on the team with 247 digs is McCall, who tied a program record in a three-set match with 28 dug out balls versus Oregon on Oct. 22. McCall ranks third amongst Pac-12 pin hitters with 2.54 digs per set. The two have helped keep opponents to a .185 hitting percentage, good for second best in the conference.
BRUINS IN THE POLLS
The UCLA Bruins are ranked 14th in this week's AVCA rankings (Nov. 29, 2021). UCLA has been ranked in the Top 25 in all 14 weeks of the regular season (17/preseason, 18/1, 16/2, 19/3, 19/4, 15/5, 16/6, 14/7, 17/8, 16/9, 13/10, 12/11, 13/12, 13/13, 14/14).
MAY AND FLECK SELECTED TO ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT TEAMS
Mac May and Zoe Fleck were named to the 2021-22 CoSIDA Academic All-District 8 Women's Volleyball Teams (College Sports Information Directors of America) on Nov. 18. May was honored as a first-team selection and will advance to the CoSIDA Academic All-America® ballot. May earned a 3.41 GPA while obtaining her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology as an undergraduate and is currently maintaining a 4.00 GPA as a graduate student pursuing a Master of Arts in John Wooden's Transformative Coaching and Leadership (Education major). Fleck, who owns a 3.56 GPA as a psychology major, was honored as a second-team selection. First-, second- and third-team Academic All-America® honorees will be announced in mid-December. District 8 is comprised of schools located in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawai'i, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Canada.
SCOUTING THE STAGS
Fairfield will be the fourth opponent UCLA has ever faced from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The Bruins are 3-0 all-time and have not dropped a set to MAAC opponents. Most recently, UCLA defeated MAAC champion Rider in the first round of the Spring 2021 NCAA Tournament. The Stags are led by eight-time MAAC Coach of the Year Todd Kress who will be making his ninth appearance in the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Tournament as a head coach. The Stags led the MAAC in kills per set (13.58), hitting percentage (.254), assists per set (12.67), opponent hitting percentage (.158) and blocks per set (2.59). Outside hitter KJ Johnson is Fairfield's leading scorer with a conference-best 4.82 kills per set and .311 hitting percentage (min. 500 attempts). Middle blockers Emily Schillinger and Ella Gardner rank two and three in the MAAC in blocks per set with 1.18 and 1.10, respectively. Setter Manuela Nicolini also leads the conference with 11.11 assists per set.