Aug. 25, 2012
LINCOLN, Neb. - In front of a hostile, red-wearing crowd of 4,186 at the NU Coliseum, the top-ranked and defending national champion Bruins came back from an 0-2 deficit to force a fifth set in Saturday's match at fourth-ranked Nebraska, but the host Huskers pulled away in the deciding game to knock off UCLA. Set scores were 20-25, 23-25, 25-23, 25-19, 13-15.
Senior Tabi Love led all players with a UCLA career-high 20 kills and added four blocks, while freshman Becca Strehlow in her first collegiate start recorded 46 assists, 23 digs and five kills. Senior Rachael Kidder posted her 11th-career double-double with 14 kills and 10 digs to go with four blocks. Sophomore Karsta Lowe came off the bench to tally eight kills and only one hitting error with four blocks in four sets.
Senior Bojana Todorovic was also in double figures in digs with 18, adding seven assists, as was junior Meg Norton, who had 12 digs. Junior Kelly Reeves produced five kills and eight digs, junior Mariana Aquino had five blocks and sophomore Zoë Nightingale added six kills and four blocks. The Bruins (1-1) out-hit the Huskers for the match .227 to .207.
The Bruins never led in dropping the opener. Nebraska (2-0) scored the first four points, but UCLA responded with five of the next six to even the score at five. Kidder began the 5-1 run with a kill and a solo block, while Norton added a kill. After a Husker sideout, a Reeves kill and a combo block by Nightingale and Reeves squared the score. Nebraska came back with runs of 5-0 and 9-3 to take a set-best lead of six at 14-8.
UCLA got back to even in the opener on a 7-1 run to tie the score at 15. Love was a part of three straight points on two kills and a solo stuff, and a Nebraska attack error made it 14-12. Following a Husker sideout, an Aquino/Love combo block, an NU attack error and a Kidder solo block brought the visitors back to even. However, the Huskers tallied four of the next five to go ahead 19-16. The Bruins got to within one three separate times, but at 21-20, the Huskers netted the last four to win the first 25-20. Love and Kidder paced UCLA with three kills apiece. Nebraska held a .143-.029 hitting advantage.
It appeared that the Bruins would runaway with the second set, but a strong comeback by the Huskers gave the home squad a 2-0 match advantage going into the locker room. Dropping the first two points of the set, the Bruins scored the next four on kills by Reeves and Lowe, an Aquino/Lowe combo block and a Husker attack error to take a 4-2 edge. UCLA's edge remained between one and three until at 13-11, the Bruins scored six of the next eight to take a set-best lead of six at 19-13. Love had a kill and a solo block, Aquino, Kidder and Nightingale each added kills and the Huskers had an attack error.
However, the Huskers got the Bruins stuck in a bad rotation, going on an 8-0 run to re-take the lead at 21-19. Four of the next six for UCLA on kills by Aquino, Kidder and Reeves and a Husker service error tied things up at 23, but Nebraska rallied with the next two to take the second 25-23. The Bruins had an even attack, with seven players recording at least two kills and Kidder leading the way with three. Strehlow added six digs, as the Bruins out-hit the Huskers .333 to .310.
The Huskers scored the first point of the third, but the Bruins got the next three and eight of the next 10 and never trailed for the rest of the set. Lowe had two kills and a block during the 7-2 run, Nightingale was a part of three roofs, Strehlow had a kill and a block and Kidder added a kill. Still up 16-15, the Bruins scored four straight on three Love kills and a Nebraska attack error to take a set-best lead of five at 20-15.
Nebraska rallied though, netting eight of the next 11 to equal the score at 23. But the third set belonged to Love, who had a kill and a solo block to clinch a 25-23 victory. Love led the Bruins in the third with seven kills, while Lowe added four. Strehlow and Todorovic each had six digs, as the Bruins out-hit the Huskers .256 to .179.
The Bruins fell behind 6-4 early in the fourth set, but a 6-0 run gave them a 10-6 lead and they never looked back. Love and Kidder kills and a Nebraska attack error gave UCLA a 7-6 lead, which was followed by an Aquino/Lowe combo block, a Kidder kill and an Aquino/Kidder roof to make it a four-point advantage.
Although the Bruins' lead would never stretch above six in the set, the closest the Huskers would get the rest of the way was two. Up 22-19, Nebraska committed three straight errors to give UCLA a 25-19 victory and force a deciding set. Love again paced the Bruins with six kills, while Kidder added four. Strehlow notched nine digs, as the Bruins out-hit the Huskers .263 to .098.
UCLA scored the first four points of the fifth on kills by Lowe and Reeves, a Nebraska attack error and a Kidder solo block. The Bruins' lead remained between two and four until at 10-6, the Huskers stormed back to win the fifth. The home squad scored five of the next six to equal things at 11. A kill by Kidder and a Nebraska attack error put UCLA to within two points of an incredible comeback victory. However, the Huskers posted the final four points of the match to win it 15-13. Kidder, Love and Lowe each had two kills in the set. The Bruins were out-hit .333 to .250.
The Bruins play their first home match of the 2012 season on Wednesday against Chinese club team Jiangsu. There is free admission for the contest, which will be held at the John Wooden Center at 7 p.m. The match will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Networks and will also feature Gametracker at UCLABruins.com.