December 6, 1998
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A rematch of last year's NCAA second round match, this year's post-season meeting between UCLA and UC Santa Barbara ended in similar fashion with UCSB advancing to the Regional. Today's NCAA second round match saw UCLA fall 3-1 (15-8, 8-15, 15-1, 15-11) to UC Santa Barbara at The Thunderdome on the UCSB campus.
Ranked No. 15, UCLA ends the season with an overall record of 16-12 while No.11 UC Santa Barbara improves to 28-5 and advances to the NCAA Pacific Regional at Nebraska to face Wisconsin on Friday. Also competing in the regional will be Pepperdine and Nebraska.
UCLA's Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Kristee Porter again led all hitters with 24 kills, also collected 11 digs for her 12th double-double and had a hand on four blocks. Fellow All-Pac-10 selection and UCLA rookie Ashley Bowles registered 19 kills and 10 digs to notch her 16th double-double and also served four aces.
Also an All-Pac-10 performer, Elisabeth Bachman reached double figures with 11 kills and added four blocks. Rookie setter Erika Selsor provided 47 assists and 11 digs. The only two active Bruins with NCAA Tournament experience, sophomore Amy Nihipali chipped in five kills and six blocks, while classmate Michelle Quon led the squad with 13 digs.
Seniors Chaska Potter and Mandi Lawson closed their UCLA playing careers tonight. Potter had one kill, two assists, five digs and three blocks. Lawson improved her career-high with three service aces and added four digs.
UCSB also had three players in double figures as junior Roberta Gehlke led the way with 19 and also managed 20 digs and four solo blocks. Senior middle hitter Katie Crawford put down 18 kills and five blocks and junior Charlene Conley added 16 kills and five blocks. Seniors Hilary Gunsaulus and Erin McCown chipped in nine kills each. Freshman setter Brooke Rundle provided 57 assists and 11 digs.
The match start with both teams battling for numerous sideouts and few points, UCSB took off from a tie at eight points all to claim game one 15-8 as Roberta Gehlke put away 10 kills with only one error to hit .529. Porter had eight kills with just two errors for a .500 percentage in that game for UCLA.
In game two, UCSB scored the first four points, but UCLA rallied for the next five. The score remained tight until eight all when Bowles went back to serve for UCLA and the Bruins reeled off the final seven points of the game punctuated by Bowles' third ace of the match to even the match at one game each.
Games three and four looked very similar to game two at the start, but ended differently as UCSB overcame solid leads by UCLA down the stretch. The Gauchos scored the first three points in the third game and built a 5-1 lead, but UCLA tied the score at eight and pulled ahead 13-10. The Bruins stalled there as UCSB surged ahead for the 15-13 win powered by a pair of solo blocks by Roberta Gehlke.
Momentum shifts were also prevalent in game four as UCSB scored the first three points and UCLA followed with the next six. The Bruins continued to build an 11-5 advantage, but UCSB got a spark off the bench when Heather Hutchison came in to serve three aces among a string of five points to tie the score at 11 all. The teams exchanged sideouts, but UCSB also threw in a few points to go ahead 13-11. The 14th point was very controversial as UCLA believed Porter's attempt was down, but the officials let play continue and UCSB scored that and the next point for the victory.
Today's match was also a rematch of a meeting between these two teams on Oct. 14 at UCLA, which the Bruins claimed in five (13-15, 9-15, 15-10, 15-3, 15-11). That match proved to be a turning point in UCLA's season as Porter drilled 38 kills en route to AVCA National Player of the Week honors and the Bruins went on to win 12 of their final 14 regular-season matches. Key for UCSB was the fact that Crawford missed the match with an injury.
This is UCLA's 17th NCAA Tournament appearance. The Bruins have won six national titles, including three during NCAA play and now own a record of 45-15 in NCAA post-season action. UCSB is making its 18th NCAA appearance and stands 19-10 in NCAA tournament action. The Gauchos have now matched last year's best outing by winning two matches in the same NCAA tournament.