Dec. 8, 2006
HONOLULU - UCLA pounded out eight service aces and Nana Meriwether posted a .708 attack percentage and eight block assists as the Bruins swept the 13th-seeded Oklahoma Sooners on Friday night, 30-22, 30-16, 30-26. Meriwether had a match-high 21 points as the Bruins hit .378 as a team in the match.
The Bruins came out of the gate quickly, scoring the first four points of game one en route to a 30-22 win. As a team, UCLA hit .359 in the opening game with just three errors on 39 total attacks.
The Bruins will play host Hawai'i, the 12th seed in the tournament, at 6:30 pm HT (8:30 pm Pacific Time) on Saturday night. The match will be broadcast live on ESPNU and on www.uclabruins.com.
Ali Daley was the Bruins leading offensive threat, downing six kills on 11 swings with one error for a .455 attack percentage in the game to go with a pair of aces. UCLA recorded just three blocks in the opening game to OU's one, but the Bruins put down six service aces, three from senior libero Colby Lyman, compared to two from Oklahoma.
UCLA got even hotter during the second game of the match, hitting .500 as a team with 18 kills and just one error on 34 total attacks for the 30-16 win. Nana Meriwether became the first Bruin with double-figure kills, going to the break with 10 kills on an error-free 15 attacks for a .667 individual attack percentage. Kaitlin Sather also went to the break error-free with a .600 attack percentage reflecting nine kills on 15 attacks. UCLA had four blocks in the second game, all of them involving Meriwether who had five block assists after the second game of the match.
The Sooners came out of the locker room having made a number of adjustments and fought hard in the third game of the match. The teams traded points to the 14-14 point with neither team taking more than a one-point lead to that point in the match. In fact, neither team led by more than two points until a Meriwether/ Sather block gave the Bruins a 22-19 lead. The Bruins took it from there, finishing out a 30-26 third game win to take the match 3-0.
Nana Meriwether finished with 17 kills on 24 error-free attacks for a .708 attack percentage on the evening. That is tied for the fourth-best attack percentage with a minimum of 20 attacks with Meriwether's first-round performance against Kansas (18K, 1E, 24 TA) in the 2005 NCAA Tournament.
Three Bruins finished the match with double-figure kills with Ali Daley and Kaitlin Sather finishing with 11 and 10 kills apiece. Daley added three aces and seven block assists for 17.5 points while Sather had an ace and four block assists for 13.0 blocks on the evening.
As a team, the Bruins out-blocked OU by a 13-1 margin, out-hit them .378-.179, out-dug them 66-50 and had just six errors as a team in the match.
UCLA advances to play in its sixth NCAA Regional Final in an eight-year span and will face Hawai'i, who defeated USC in five games on Friday night at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu. The UH-UCLA match is scheduled to begin at 6:30 pm HT (8:30 pm Pacific Time) and will be broadcast live on both ESPNU and uclabruins.com. UCLA defeated the Rainbow Wahine in three games over Labor Day weekend in the final game of the Hawaiian Airlines Classic.