Dec. 6, 2002
MALIBU, CA - A night after upending last year's national runner-up, Long Beach State, the Bruins seemed poised to pull off another stunner at the expense of regional host Pepperdine in the second round of the NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament. But despite winning game two and making all three other games exciting finishes, the Waves advanced to next weekend's regional semifinal with game scores of 30-26, 23-30, 30-26, 30-26.
The Bruin offense was powered by senior Lauren Fendrick's match-high 20 kills along with solid performances by sophomores Brynn Murphy and Heather Cullen, who each hit .333 for the match. Chrissie Zartman recorded a match-high 19 digs, while the Bruins won the battle at the net with nine blocks to Pepperdine's seven.
In game one, the Waves charged out to a lead as wide as 21-12. The Bruins made things difficult from there, however, going on a 10-2 run to cut Pepperdine's lead to two. Pepperdine managed to hold the Bruins at bay to take the opening set 30-26.
The Bruins kept the momentum going from game one into the second frame. UCLA scored the first four points and never looked back, evening the match at one game apiece with a 30-23 win. UCLA held Pepperdine to a .173 team hitting percentage, while the Bruins connected at a .278 rate.
After falling in the second game, the Waves were able to recapture what gave them a strong start in game one. While hitting .325 for the game, Pepperdine held UCLA to a .184 hitting percentage. But just as in game one, the Bruins mounted a late charge and narrowed Pepperdine's lead to margins of 27-25 and 29-26 before Pepperdine notched the game's last point. However, UCLA looked to have gained the momentum that they hoped would lead to a fourth-consecutive "Sweet 16" appearance.
Again, Pepperdine took an early advantage in game four, consistently pacing the match by two points over the Bruins until UCLA caught the Waves at 15-15 and went on to take a 19-17 lead. Pepperdine opted for a time-out, which all but capped UCLA's comeback attempt. The Waves held the match from that point, winning 30-26.
UCLA finishes its season with a record of 20-14, while Pepperdine improved to 25-6. The Waves advance to play the winner of the California-UC Santa Barbara match to be decided Saturday in Santa Barbara.
"We battled well tonight," said UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski. "I'm pleased with our effort tonight and the success that we did have this weekend. We sort of tripped over our youth in the fourth game, but we battled well."