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No. 13 Seed UCLA to Face No. 4 Seed Wisconsin in Sweet 16

Dec 7, 2021
Photo courtesy of Don Liebig/ASUCLA

MADISON, Wis. – No. 13 seed UCLA (25-5, 16-4 Pac-12) will face No. 4 seed Wisconsin (27-3, 17-3 Big Ten) in the UW Field House for the Regional Semifinals on Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. PT. The contest, a rematch from the 2019 Second Round also in Madison, Wis., will be televised on ESPNU. The winner will advance to the Regional Finals and take on the winner of No. 5-seed Baylor and No. 12-seed Minnesota. UCLA is 0-2 all-time against Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament with both matches being played in the UW Field House. The Badgers have been to two-straight Final Fours, including an a runner-up finish in the 2019 NCAA Championship match.

Venue: UW Field House
First Serve: 2:02 p.m. PT
Watch: ESPNU
Talent: Courtney Lyle (PxP), Karch Kiraly (Analyst)
Live Stats: NCAA Website

• UCLA was seeded No. 13 in the NCAA Tournament after a second-place finish in the Pac-12 (23-5, 16-4 Pac-12)
• The Bruins posted 16 conference wins for their most in a season since UCLA's 17 wins in 2011, resulting in a national title
• The Bruins' last victory over a top-5 team came against No. 2 Stanford on Oct. 25, 2019 in Pauley Pavilion (3-0)
• UCLA 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
• May leads all remaining NCAA Tournament players w/ 5.49 pps, ranks second w/ 4.84 kps (Minn. OH Stephanie Samedy)
• UCLA trots out three transfers in its starting lineup: L Zoe Fleck, S Shelby Martin and OH/OPP élan McCall
• UCLA is one of two Pac-12 teams left standing in the tournament (No. 15 seed Washington)

• 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 22-5 all-time in NCAA Regional Semifinal matches (5-5 in its last 10 Regional Semifinals dating back to 2004)
• 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 past the NCAA Regionals since 2011

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.

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 last Saturday evening. Ndiaye's performance marked the single-most blocks in a match this season by a Bruin. May led the Bruins 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 2-1 and 13-9 in the fourth set when UCLA came out of an unsuccessful challenge and strung together a 6-0 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. May finished the fifth – and her final set played in Pauley – with a team-high four kills and no errors on just seven swings to surge to a 15-7 set victory.

Playing in front of a home crowd for the first time in over a year, UCLA went 12-0 at home with nine combined sweeps in Pauley Pavilion and the John Wooden Center. At home, the Bruins averaged 13.90 assists per set and are hitting at a blistering .306 clip to average 14.90 kills per set. All three statistical figures lead the Pac-12 in its home splits. May led the Bruins with 5.29 kills per set at a .296 hitting percentage, and middle blocker Anna Dodson paces the squad with a .384 hitting percentage for 1.90 kills per set. Martin averages 11.80 assists for a .462 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).

With her 25 kills and three aces against UCF last Saturday, Mac May climbed into both the top 3 on UCLA's career kills list (2,048) and career aces list (177). She is the only Bruin in program history to crack the top 3 in both statistical categories. May surpassed Liz Masakayan (pronounced Mass-uh-KY-un, 1982-85) for sole possession of third place on the kill leader board and is tied for third in career aces with Merja Connolly (1981-84). May recorded her 2,000th career kill in a 27-point performance (21 kills, 3 aces) at USC 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. May is UCLA's all-time leader with 597 sets played.

UCLA produced its top two ace outputs of the season in back-to-back 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. Since the Bruins' match with the Sun Devils, UCLA is averaging 2.3 aces per set. Mac May's careerhigh 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.

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 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.

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 career assists with a 39-assist performance in the Bruins' 3-0 win over Colorado on Sunday, Nov. 7.

Outside hitter Iman Ndiaye put forth the best single-match blocking performance by a Bruin this season with 10 denials against UCF in the NCAA Second Round on Dec. 4. She helped hold the nation's kills and points leader outside hitter McKenna Melville to 14 attack errors and a .000 hitting percentage.

In her first full season since recovering from two torn anterior cruciate ligaments, Anna Dodson leads UCLA with a .343 hitting percentage and 108 blocks. Dodson became more involved in UCLA's attack in the Bruins' final eight matches of the regular season, 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 on Nov. 19, Dodson scored 10 kills on just 15 swings in addition to four blocks.

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 27 of 30 matches this season and ranks fifth in the Pac-12 with 4.00 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 274 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 2.61 digs per set. The two have helped keep opponents to a .182 hitting percentage, good for second best in the conference.

The UCLA Bruins are ranked 14th in AVCA's final regular-season rankings (Nov. 29, 2021). UCLA was ranked in the Top 25 in all 14 weeks (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).

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.

The Big Ten-champion Wisconsin Badgers have been to each of the last two NCAA Final Fours, including a runner-up finish to Stanford in the National Championship match in 2019. The Bruins lost to Wisconsin in the NCAA Second Round that postseason. The Badgers' leading point scorer is four-time All-Big-Ten Team member and three-time AVCA Northeast Region Player of the Year middle blocker Dana Rettke with 3.47 kills per set and 1.40 blocks per set. Rettke's .445 hitting percentage leads her conference and ranks third in the country. Big Ten Setter of the Year Sydney Hilley leads the nation with 12.07 assists per set. The Badgers have five other players averaging 2.0+ points per set, including freshman outside hitter Julia Orzol with 3.38 points per set (3.00 kps). As a team, Wisconsin has defeated eight top-15 teams, including four teams playing in the Sweet 16.