Bruins Open at Home with USC, Washington
LOS ANGELES – The UCLA women's volleyball team begins its Pac-12 slate of competition with its first home contests of the season versus USC on Thursday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. PT and No. 18 Washington on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022 at 3 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. The Bruins' (6-3) matchup with the Trojans (8-3) can be watched on the Pac-12 Network and its Sunday matinee with the Huskies (8-2) on ESPNU.
Outside hitter élan McCall is the Bruins' top point scorer with a team-best 3.35 kills per set while also ranking second on the squad with 2.87 digs per set. Middle blocker Francesca Alupei leads the conference with 1.57 blocks per set. UCLA has reached double-digit blocking numbers in five of its nine matches this season, with a team-high 20 blocks coming in the Bruins' season opener at Utah State on Aug. 26.
UCLA vs. USC
Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022 – 7 p.m. PT
Los Angeles, Calif. (Pauley Pavilion)
Watch: Pac-12 Networks
Talent: Anne Marie Anderson (PxP), Holly McPeak (Analyst)
Live Stats: uclalivestats.com
UCLA vs. No. 18 Washington
Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022 – 3 p.m. PT
Los Angeles, Calif. (Pauley Pavilion)
Talent: Kevin Barnett (PxP), Nicole Branagh (Analyst)
Live Stats: uclalivestats.com
The Bruins split a pair of matches in their final preseason road trip to San Diego. UCLA disposed of San Diego State in three sets behind a .273 hitting percentage and followed that with straight set loss to its only ranked opponent so far this season, No. 8 San Diego. Francesca Alupei put up a career-high 11 kills at a .529 clip while fellow middle blocker Anna Dodson was near perfect with six kills on just seven attempts. Against the Toreros, the Bruins were limited to .181 and hit 18 attack errors over the three sets.
Noting the Bruins
• The Bruins finished the preseason with a 6-3 record after falling to No. 8 San Diego on Friday, 3-0. élan McCall, Iman Ndiaye and Grayce Olson each led UCLA with eight kills apiece. It was the second time two weeks that UCLA had been swept, last coming against Loyola Marymount on Sept. 8.
• The Bruins are hitting .200 as a team and holding their opponents to .138, which ranks eighth nationally and second in the Pac-12.
• UCLA ranks fifth in the country and first in the conference in blocks per set at 3.10.
• Middle blocker Francesca Alupei is averaging a Pac-12-best 1.57 blocks per set, good for fifth in the country.
• Alupei has had the two highest block outputs of her career so far in the early season, with nine total roofs against Hawai'i on Sept. 4 and another nine against San Diego State on Sept. 15.
• élan McCall leads the Bruins with 3.35 kills per set and ranks second with 2.87 digs per set.
• McCall currently has 934 career kills across her two seasons at TCU (463) and her time at UCLA (471).
• Graduate libero Mackenzie Cole leads UCLA with 2.90 digs per set (90 total digs).
• Graduate setter Matti McKissock leads UCLA with 9.77 assists per set. She currently has 4,396 career assists including her four seasons at Georgia Tech (4,103 AST) and 293 assists so far this season.
• USC is 8-3 on the season and has lost to its only two ranked opponents: No. 17 Creighton (3-1) and No. 16 Kentucky (3-0).
• The Bruins and Trojans have faced two common opponents (Hawai'i and San Jose State). Against Hawai'i, who the Bruins defeated in five sets thanks to a miraculous fourth-set comeback, USC has split two matches with. Against San Jose State, who the Bruins defeated in four sets, USC swept last Sunday.
• Outside hitter Skylar Fields, a transfer from Texas, leads USC and the Pac-12 with 4.24 kills per set.
• Freshman outside hitter Jordan Wilson ranks second on the squad with 3.13 kills per set.
• Setter Mia Tuaniga leads the Pac-12 with 11.05 assists per set, good for sixth best in the country.
• USC's opponents are hitting .189 this season.
USC Series History
• UCLA leads the all-time series over its rival, 68-61, dating back to Nov. 11, 1970.
• The two squads have split the last 10 meetings, 5-5.
• UCLA and USC have met in the NCAA Tournament three times with the Trojans coming up victorious all three meetings.
• The Trojans defeated the Bruins in the first-ever national championship under the umbrella of the NCAA in 1981, 3-2. Chuck Erbe was the head coach of the Trojans and UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame member Andy Banachowski for the Bruins.
• The two programs met in the AIAW Championship once in 1976, resulting in a 2-1 Trojan victory.
• UCLA has four NCAA Championships compared to USC's three.
• The reigning Pac-12 champions are 8-2 to begin the season with one ranked victory over No. 19 Illinois.
• The Huskies' two losses came in their season opener at Arkansas and in a four-set affair versus No. 24 Pepperdine.
• Outside hitter Claire Hoffman leads the Pac-12 with 21 service aces and leads Washington with 3.92 kills per set.
• Fall 2021 Pac-12 Setter of the Year Ella May Powell ranks second in the conference with 10.86 assists per set.
• Washington ranks ninth nationally and first in the conference in kills per set with 14.14.
Washington Series History
• UCLA leads the all-time series over Washington, 46-34.
• The Huskies have won seven of the last 10 meetings with the Bruins.
Unbeaten at Home
UCLA was an undefeated 12-0 at home a season ago with ranked victories over No. 16 Oregon, No. 22 Washington State and No. 8 Washington as well as NCAA First and Second Round wins over Fairfield and UCF. In those 12 matches, the Bruins hit for a .306 percentage, averaging 14.90 kills per set and 13.90 assists per set. Middle blocker Anna Dodson, who was an All-Pac-12 Team selection that season, led UCLA with a .384 hitting percentage. UCLA was the only Pac-12 team to have an flawless home record in the Fall 2021 season.
Top Two in the Pac-12
The Fall 2021 Pac-12 Championship race came down to the final day of the regular season. Washington's victory over Washington State and UCLA's five-set loss at USC gave the Huskies the conference crown and the Bruins finished runner-up. The two teams split last year's showdowns, with each side winning their respective home match.
Last Time the Trojan Horse Entered Pauley
UCLA had both its home opener and conference opener against USC a year ago, resulting in a 3-1 Bruin victory. Then-freshman Charitie Luper put on a show in front of 6,623 fans, a UCLA regular-season attendance record, with 19 kills at a .410 hitting percentage. Luper's 19 kills, the most kills by a Bruin freshman in a home opener since Kristee Porter in 1998, were scored in bunches. Most notably, Luper strung together five consecutive kills in the third set. Luper finished that weekend with 18 more kills in UCLA's reverse sweep of Stanford.
Career Night for Alupei
Francesca Alupei established career highs in kills (11) and points (17.5) and tied a career high in total blocks (9) in UCLA's sweep of San Diego State last Thursday. Alupei had just two hitting errors on 17 attempts to finish with a .529 hitting percentage.
Westwood Roofing Co.
Francesca Alupei leads the Pac-12 and ranks fifth in the nation with 1.57 blocks per set. She is tied for fifth in the conference with 47 total blocks. Alupei has recorded at least five total blocks in five of UCLA's first nine matches of the season after having just seven such matches all last season. As a team, UCLA also leads the Pac-12 and ranks fifth in the country with 3.10 blocks per set. Joining Alupei in the block party is Iman Ndiaye, who is averaging 0.97 blocks per set, and Anna Dodson, who is right behind averaging 0.94. The Bruins averaged 2.32 blocks per set (7th in Pac-12) last season.
What's New, Bru?
UCLA has seen eight players make their Bruin debut this season in the form of four transfers (MB Lauren Forte, S Matti McKissock, L Mackenzie Cole and DS Peyton Dueck), three freshmen (OH Grayce Olson, OH Cheridyn Leverette and S Mokihana Tufono) and Katie McCarthy, who redshirted her freshman Fall 2021 season. Of those eight players, five had made at least one start.
In last season's home opener versus USC, the Bruins set a regular season attendance record with 6,623 fans.
Two Bruins Named to Preseason All-Pac-12 Team
Sophomore outside hitter Charitie Luper and graduate transfer middle blocker Lauren Forte (Florida) were named to the 2022 All-Pac-12 Preseason Team. Luper was a four-time Pac-12 Freshman of the Week last season, ranking second on the squad with 227 kills despite playing in only 18 of UCLA's 31 matches. Luper's 3.39 kills per set were second only to Mac May (4.85 KPS). The duo led all Pac-12 scoring tandems through October of conference play with a combined 388 kills and 480 points prior to Luper's injury.
Forte transfers into Westwood from Florida after a pair of All-SEC and AVCA All-American honors. In her two seasons as a Gator,
Forte averaged 1.02 blocks per set (147.0 total blocks) and 2.06 kills per set at a .422 hitting percentage.
Bruins in the Rankings
UCLA enters the fourth week of the season unranked. UCLA has been ranked in the AVCA poll 526 times dating back to 1982, which ranks third most all-time behind Nebraska (575) and Stanford (567). UCLA, coming off its highest conference finish (2nd) since 2016, was tabbed to finish third and received one first-place vote in the Pac-12 Preseason Coaches Poll.
UCLA Week-by-Week: (Preseason/12, Week 1/23, Week 2/23, Week 3/NR, Week 4/NR)