Aug. 26, 2011
LOS ANGELES - Sophomore Meg Norton paced the Bruins with a career-high 11 kills and eight digs, while junior Bojana Todorovic added eight kills, five digs and four aces (tied a career high), as the 11th-ranked Bruins opened the 2011 season with a three-set victory over Quinnipiac on Friday at the LMU Invitational. Set scores were 25-11, 25-16, 25-19.
Freshman Megan Moenoa had 31 assists in her first collegiate match. Sophomore Madie Smith added 11 digs, while senior Nikki Casale posted a personal-best six digs. The Bruins hit .271 for the match to Quinnipiac's -.024.
The Bruins never trailed in the first set, scoring the first seven points thanks to two kills from Todorovic, one by both Norton and freshman Olivia Okoro, an ace from Smith and two Bobcat errors. Quinnipiac netted two of the next three, but another 7-0 UCLA run upped its advantage to 15-2. Sophomore Mariana Aquino began things with a kill, which was followed by back-to-back Todorovic aces. Three more kills from Norton and another Todorovic ace put the Bruins up by a baker's dozen.
UCLA's biggest lead of the set was 14 on several occasions. With a 21-11 lead, the Bruins served out the set with four straight points thanks to three Bobcat errors and a Todorovic kill to win the opener 25-11. Norton had six kills in the first, Todorovic added three with three aces and Aquino and Okoro posted two kills. The Bruins out-hit the Bobcats .423 to -.045.
The Bobcats took their first and only lead of the match by opening the second set with the first point. Three straight Quinnipiac errors though made it 3-1 UCLA. The Bruins maintained a 7-3 edge, but the Bobcats scored four of the next five to get to within one at 8-7. But four straight UCLA points on an Aquino kill, an attack error and back-to-back spikes by Okoro and junior Tabi Love made it 12-7. With the score 13-11, four consecutive errors increased the Bruins' lead to 17-11.
Quinnipiac sided out the next point, but a 5-1 run on two kills by Moenoa, one from Norton, a Todorovic ace and a Bobcat service error gave the Bruins a set-best lead of nine at 22-13. Love ended the set with her third kill of the second stanza to give the Bruins a 25-16 win. Norton also added three kills, as UCLA out-hit Quinnipiac .231 to .000.
The Bruins again led wire-to-wire in the third, scoring seven of the first nine points on kills by Norton, Todorovic, sophomore Jenna Scilacci and freshman Zoë Nightingale, as well as three Bobcat attack errors. A spunky Quinnipiac squad closed the gap to 8-7 thanks to a 5-1 run, but another kill by Nightingale and a Moenoa/Scilacci block made it 10-7. The Bobcats would tie the score up at 11, but three in a row by the Bruins on kills by Scilacci and Norton and a Casale ace put the blue team up 14-11.
Still leading 19-15, the Bruins scored three of the next four points. The first two kills by freshman Priscilla Duke-Ezeji started the run, and after a Quinnipiac sideout, a Scilacci kill made it 22-16. Following two in a row by the Bobcats, a Duke-Ezeji/Scilacci block and a Todorovic kill gave the Bruins match point. The Bobcats staved off the first attempt, but a combo block from Norton and Scilacci gave the Bruins the 25-19 win. Todorovic had four kills in the third, while Scilacci posted three kills and three blocks. The Bruins out-hit the Bobcats .182 to -.032.
The Bruins play twice on Saturday at the LMU Invitational, facing Cal State Fullerton at 12:30 p.m. and Loyola Marymount at 7:30 p.m. Live updates will be available for the Fullerton match, while the LMU contest will feature free audio at UCLABruins.com.