June 1, 2009
The 2009 UCLA women's volleyball team will play 16 of their 31 regular-season matches against squads that made the 2008 NCAA Tournament, including contests against five of the eight Regional finalists.
Returning for a Bruin squad that reached their sixth-straight Regional and posted their 10th-consecutive, 20-win season in 2008 are the reigning Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Amanda Gil, All-Pac-10 honoree and redshirt senior Kaitlin Sather and Pac-10 All-Freshman Team members Katie Camp and Sara Sage.
For the second straight season, the Bruins open the year in Honolulu at the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational and face three teams that made the NCAA Tournament in 2008. First up on Friday, Aug. 28 is Santa Clara, which went 18-10 a year ago and reached the second round of the tournament. The next day, UCLA takes on fellow Regional semifinalist Western Michigan, which posted a 28-7 record last season. In the opening-tournament finale on Sunday, Aug. 30, the Bruins play the host Rainbow Wahine, who went 31-4 and advanced to the Regional Final in 2008. All matches will be at 8 p.m. PT.
UCLA then heads to Las Vegas for the UNLV Tournament for three matches in two days. After facing the host Rebels on Friday, Sept. 4 at 7 p.m., the Bruins take on Loyola Marymount and Idaho on Saturday, Sept. 5 at 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., respectively.
The Bruins continue their non-conference road trip the next weekend in Lincoln, Neb. at the Ameritas Players Challenge. Following matches against BYU on Thursday, Sept. 10 and Virginia on Friday, Sept. 11, both at 2:30 p.m. PT, UCLA faces 2008 National Semifinal squad Nebraska on Sunday, Sept. 13 at 12 p.m. The Huskers went 31-3 a year ago and lost to Penn State in the semifinals.
UCLA plays its annual showdown with Pepperdine in Malibu on Wednesday, Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. and stays in Southern California that weekend at the Fullerton Classic. The Bruins play the host Titans on Friday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. and Fordham and Long Beach State on Saturday, Sept. 19 at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., respectively. Pepperdine and Long Beach State both made the NCAA Tournament last year, with the Waves (20-8) losing in the first round to the 49ers (26-6), before they fell in the round of 32.
Pac-10 play starts up the following weekend in the desert, as the Bruins play Arizona State on Friday, Sept. 25 and Arizona on Saturday, Sept. 26. Both matches, as well as all conference contests (with the exception of the final two matches of the regular season), start at 7 p.m.
After a 15-match road trip to start the season, the Bruins begin the month of October at Pauley Pavilion, taking on a pair of Bay Area teams on Friday, Oct. 2 and Saturday, Oct. 3. Coming to Westwood first is Stanford, which went 31-4 a year ago and advanced to the National Championship match against Penn State. The next evening, California, which posted a 26-7 mark and a Regional Final appearance in 2008, comes to Pauley.
On Friday, Oct. 9, the Bruins play the first of two matches against their most-hated rival, USC. The two teams have each won on their respective home courts the last two seasons, with the first matchup in 2009 coming at Pauley Pavilion. The Trojans went 17-12 last season and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Bruins head to the Pacific Northwest the next weekend, facing Washington on Friday, Oct. 16 and Washington State on Saturday, Oct. 17. The Huskies made the Regional Final in 2008 after going 27-5. UCLA closes out the first round of Pac-10 play at home against Oregon on Friday, Oct. 23 and Oregon State on Saturday, Oct. 24. The Ducks made it to the Regional Semifinals a year ago, posting a 25-9 record.
The second half of conference action begins on Friday, Oct. 30 at California, which is followed the next day with a matchup against Stanford. On Friday, Nov. 6, the Bruins travel across town to face USC at Galen Center.
Four of the final six matches of the season are at home, starting on Friday, Nov. 13 against Washington State and continuing the next evening against Washington. Following a two-game trip to Oregon State on Friday, Nov. 20 and Oregon on Saturday, Nov. 21, the Bruins close out the regular season with home contests against Arizona on Friday, Nov. 27 and Arizona State on Saturday, Nov. 28. Both the Arizona and Arizona State matches will begin at 3 p.m. at Pauley Pavilion.
The NCAA Tournament begins with the first and second rounds (Dec. 3-4, 4-5 or 5-6) at 16 campus sites across the nation and continues the following weekend with Regional play. The four pre-determined sites for the Regional round (Dec. 11-12) are Stanford, Calif., Lincoln, Neb., Minneapolis, Minn. and Gainesville, Fla. The NCAA Finals begin with the National Semifinal round on Thursday, Dec. 17 in Tampa, Fla. and conclude with the National Championship match on Saturday, Dec. 19.