UCLA Secures 3-0 Victory over Fairfield in NCAA First Round
LOS ANGELES – Mac May led the No. 13 seed UCLA women's volleyball team with 21 kills Friday evening to help the Bruins to a tight 3-0 victory over Fairfield in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom.
Élan McCall also scored eight kills and Anna Dodson added six kills at a .385 clip. Setter Shelby Martin paced the Bruins with 39 assists.
UCLA (24-5, 16-4 Pac-12) won each set by just two points to move to 32-1 all-time in NCAA opening round matches. Set scores were 29-27, 25-23 and 26-24.
The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champion Stags (24-9, 16-2 MAAC) held two set points in the third frame, up 24-22, before May rattled off back-to-back kills to force extra points, knotting the score 24-24. Two attack errors by outside hitter Mikayla Haut on the next two plays sealed UCLA's advance into the second round.
"That's one of those well-coached teams that you knew was going to execute really, really well and that they were going to come out on fire," said UCLA women's volleyball head coach Michael Sealy. "And I think, in all honesty, they probably outplayed us in almost all facets of the game."
Outside hitter Laura Seeger recorded a Fairfield-best 12 kills while middle blocker Ella Gardiner tallied a match-high seven blocks.
The Bruins committed five attack errors and a reception error to fall into a 7-2 hole to begin the opening set. UCLA would trail until the 19-16 mark when May attacked for three consecutive kills to even the score at 19-19.
After the Bruins gained their first advantage of the set with a Dodson kill on the next play, the Stags put together a 3-0 run to recapture the lead and put their first of three set points on the line. A kill by middle blocker Francesca Alupei tied the frame at 26-26 for the third time since 23-23. Fairfield booted three straight points by way of a service error and two attacker errors to give UCLA a 1-0 lead.
The Stags and Bruins were once again neck-and-neck at 19-19 in the second set. Three straight UCLA kills – one from outside hitter Allison Jacobs and the next two from swings by Iman Ndiaye – gave the Bruins a three-point cushion at 22-19. Dodson put away the frame on a slide attack at 25-23.
The Bruins return for round two action tomorrow at 7 p.m. PT against UCF at Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. The match will be available for viewing on ESPN+.
UCF defeated Pepperdine 3-1 in its first-round matchup (25-19, 25-23, 24-26, 25-22).