UCLA Wins NCAA Second-Round Thriller over UCF
LOS ANGELES – Iman Ndiaye tallied a career-high 10 blocks to lead No. 13 seed UCLA to a 3-2 victory over UCF in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament at Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom Saturday evening.
Ndiaye's performance marked the single-most blocks in a match this season by a Bruin.
Mac May led UCLA (25-5, 16-4 Pac-12) with 25 kills and three service aces to snap the Knights' 16-match winning streak and advance the Bruins to their first Sweet 16 since 2017. élan McCall recorded a season-high 17 kills alongside her 20 digs and Shelby Martin joined her with a double-double of her own featuring 49 assists and 13 digs.
The Bruins trailed UCF (27-7, 19-1 AAC) 13-9 in the fourth set, down 2-1 in the match, when UCLA came out of an unsuccessful challenge and strung together a 5-0 run with back-to-back aces by May two kills from McCall and a block by Ndiaye and Francesca Alupei. Ndiaye's last of her nine kills finished the set to bring the match back to even at 2-2.
"I think we put ourselves in the right place to go execute, and obviously when you talk about the defense tonight, you can't overlook Iman's 10 blocks," said UCLA women's volleyball head coach Michael Sealy. "McKenna Melville is one of the better pins in the country and showed so much range last night. So, to finally get the match where we can get Iman in front of her, it puts a ton of stress and chaos in front of her to really help shut her down."
Ndiaye and Alupei met twice more for blocks in the fifth set, the first to push the score to 4-1 and second to a commanding 7-1 lead. May scored a team-high four kills in the final set of her career in Pauley Pavilion to help the UCLA to its first undefeated home record since the 1999 season.
"I think the second one was even more special, because when you shut someone down twice, the team when you get a block cheers more than any other point and I think that was important to keep the moment driving forward," Ndiaye said.
Set scores were 25-27, 25-13, 19-25, 25-22 and 15-7.
Ndiaye's 10 blocks helped contain outside hitter McKenna Melville – the nation's leader in kills and points – to a .000 hitting percentage with 14 attack errors.
After dropping the first set in extra points, UCLA owned a lead of up to 13 points at 17-4 to cruise to a second set victory. May, the recently-awarded Pac-12 Player of the Year, registered five consecutive kills to open the set to take a 5-0 lead. She ended the frame with nine kills on just 13 swings.
The Bruins jumped out to a 9-3 advantage in set three before the Knights came roaring out of a timeout on a 7-1 run to knot the score at 10-10. UCF took the lead for good off another 5-0 run to bring the score to 19-16. Middle blocker Nerissa Moravec powered back-to-back kills to take the set.
Libero Zoe Fleck recorded a match-high 29 digs.
UCLA travels to the UW Fieldhouse in Madison, Wis., to take on Big 10 champion Wisconsin in the Round of 16 on Thursday, Dec. 6. The game time will be determined at a later date. The match will be available for viewing on ESPN+.