Aug. 24, 2012
LINCOLN, Neb. - Senior Rachael Kidder led all players with 18 kills, senior Tabi Love added 12, senior Bojana Todorovic posted 16 digs and junior Kelly Reeves had a double-double with 10 kills and 11 digs, as the defending national champion and top-ranked Bruins defeated Notre Dame on Friday in four sets. Scores were 25-17, 18-25, 25-23, 25-19.
Kidder added seven digs for the Bruins, who won their 14th-straight season opener, while Reeves tallied her ninth-career double-double. Sophomore Megan Moenoa recorded a personal-best 35 assists to go with six digs and four blocks and sophomore Zoë Nightingale had five kills and six roofs. The Bruins hit .205 for the match to Notre Dame's .145.
The Bruins never trailed in their opening set of the season, scoring the first three points on a Notre Dame attack error and kills by Kidder and Nightingale. UCLA still held a three-point edge at 8-5 when the Fighting Irish netted three straight to equal things at eight. But the Bruins scored five of the next six to go up 13-9 and never saw their lead dip below two for the rest of the set. Reeves was a part of three of the points during the 5-1 run on two kills and a combo block with Nightingale, with the other two points coming on a Todorovic ace and a Kidder kill.
With the score 17-14, UCLA closed out the set with runs of 5-1 and 8-3 to take the opener 25-17. A kill by junior Mariana Aquino and an Aquino/Reeves combo roof made it 19-14. After an Irish sideout, Reeves and Kidder had consecutive kills and a Notre Dame attack error made it 22-15. In front 23-17, the Bruins received a kill by Kidder and an Irish attack error to win the first 25-17. Kidder had eight kills and no errors in 13 attempts for a .615 hitting percentage in the opener, while Reeves hit .417 with six kills and one error in 12 attacks. The Bruins hit .375 as a team, with only three hitting errors, while Notre Dame swung at a .150 clip.
Unlike the first set in which the Bruins never trailed, they would never lead in the second. Notre Dame scored six of the first seven points, before a 4-1 UCLA run got its deficit back to two at 7-5. Kidder had two kills, Moenoa and Nightingale teamed up for a block and the Irish made an attack error. Three in a row by Notre Dame brought its lead back up to five at 10-5, but four straight by the Bruins on a Moenoa kill and three straight Irish errors made it a one-point difference.
But one is as close as the Bruins would get the rest of the set. Leading 11-10, Notre Dame scored six of seven to take a 17-11 advantage. UCLA made things interesting with a 4-0 run on a Reeves kill, a Kidder solo block and two ND errors. But with an 18-16 lead, the Fighting Irish netted a 7-2 run to close the set to win it 25-18. Love had three kills to lead the Bruins in the second, Todorovic added eight digs and Reeves posted five digs. The Irish only hit .073, but the Bruins hit negative at -.047.
While the Bruins never had more than a four-point lead in the third set, they went wire-to-wire to take a 2-1 edge in the match. At 4-all, one of four ties in the set, UCLA scored four straight on a Kidder kill, a Nightingale/Reeves combo block, a Nightingale kill and an Aquino ace to make it 8-4. The Bruins still held a three-point advantage at 15-12, but the Fighting Irish got the next three to tie things up at 15.
Square at 16, the Bruins tallied four of the next five on two Irish attack errors, a Love kill and an Aquino/Moenoa combo block to put them up 20-17. UCLA's lead was down to one at 22-21, but the teams sided out the next five points, as a Kidder kill on the Bruins' second set point gave them a 25-23 win. Kidder produced five kills in the third, while Love and Nightingale had three apiece. The Bruins hit .343 to the Fighting Irish's .242.
The teams sided out the first 11 points of the fourth set and the Fighting Irish would go on to hold a slim two-point lead at 9-7. UCLA countered with a 4-1 run on two kills by Love and two Notre Dame errors to go up 11-10. The Bruins led 13-11, but the Irish scored the next three to re-take the edge at 14-13. However, UCLA responded again, this time with a 7-1 run to take a 20-15 advantage. Moenoa and freshman Karsta Lowe had kills during the run, Moenoa and Nightingale teamed up for a block, Reeves served an ace and Notre Dame committed three errors.
After a Notre Dame sideout made it 20-16, a Kidder kill and a Love solo stuff gave the Bruins a set-best lead of six at 22-16. The Irish scored the next two, but a Love/Nightingale combo block and a Todorovic ace made it match point for UCLA. Notre Dame evaded the first point, but a Love kill, her team-best fifth of the set, wrapped up a 25-19 victory. Kidder added three kills in the fourth for the Bruins, who out-hit the Irish .182 to .132.
The Bruins take on fourth-ranked Nebraska on Saturday at 4 p.m. PT to wrap up their first weekend of action. The match will be broadcast live on Big Ten Network and links to live stats will be available on the women's volleyball schedule page at UCLABruins.com.