Oct. 9, 2012
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Friday, Oct. 12
6 p.m. - #7 UCLA at #4 Stanford
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Online Coverage: Gametracker
Sunday, Oct. 14
2 p.m. - #7 UCLA at California
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Online Coverage: Gametracker
SEVENTH-RANKED BRUINS HEAD TO BAY AREA
The defending national champion and seventh-ranked Bruins travel to the Bay Area this weekend where they will face fourth-ranked Stanford on Friday at 6 p.m. and California on Sunday at 2 p.m. Both matches will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Networks.
BRUINS ON THE NET
Gametracker will be provided for both matches this weekend. Links will be available on the women's volleyball schedule page at UCLABruins.com.
The Bruins will host Utah next Wednesday, Oct. 17 and Colorado on Friday, Oct. 19 at the John Wooden Center. Next week is Breast Cancer Awareness Week. The Utah match will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Networks, while the Colorado contest is scheduled to be live streamed on UCLABruins.com.
BRUINS IN THE POLLS
The Bruins fell one position in both national polls this week. UCLA is seventh in this week's AVCA Coaches poll, losing 30 points. UCLA is one of five Pac-12 teams ranked in the Top 7 in the nation (#2 Washington, #4 Stanford, #5 Oregon and #6 USC). The Bruins were ranked as the AVCA preseason #1 for just the third time in program history. On the last two occasions, UCLA won the National Championship in 1990 and finished runner-up in 1992. The Bruins lost four points in the latest Volleyball Magazine rankings to move from fifth to sixth. UCLA was also ranked #1 in the preseason Pac-12 Coaches poll.
The Bruins enter the week sixth nationally in hitting percentage at .307 and are also in the Top 20 in three other categories. UCLA is 17th in kills per set (14.40) and 20th in both assists per set (13.42) and blocks per set (2.85). The Bruins are one of two teams (Penn State) that are ranked in the Top 20 in hitting, kills, assists and blocks per set ... UCLA is second among Pac-12 teams in hitting percentage, third in aps and fourth in kps. The Bruins also have the highest hitting mark in the conference in league matches (.322) ... UCLA has hit over .300 nine times this season and is undefeated when eclipsing the mark ... the Bruins are 6-0 on Fridays ... eight of UCLA's 12 victories have been sweeps ... the Bruins have not dropped a third set this season ... UCLA is 10-0 when winning the second set of a match ... all 12 victories have come when the Bruins have had less hitting errors, a higher hitting percentage and more blocks ... UCLA is 11-0 when holding its opponent under a .200 hitting percentage ... the Bruins hit .519 as a team against Idaho on Sept. 7, which was the highest hitting percentage in a match for UCLA in the rally scoring era (since 2001).
Sophomore Karsta Lowe enters this week's play at 24th in the nation in hitting percentage at .392. Sophomore Zoë Nightingale is 32nd in the country in blocks per set at 1.36, while senior Tabi Love is 44th with 4.07 kills per set ... Lowe ranks first among all Pac-12 players in hitting, while sophomore Megan Moenoa is fourth in the league in assists per set (10.47) ... junior Kelly Reeves surpassed the 600-career dig mark at Hawai'i and now has 670 as a Bruin ... Love, a career .237 hitter, is swinging at a .493 hitting percentage in her last three matches (38 kills, four errors, 69 attempts), including no hitting errors against Arizona on Oct. 7 (13 kills, .591) and Washington State on Sept. 28 (10, .526). After being held below the mark all last season, Love has cracked the 20-kill mark four times this year (20 at Nebraska, career-high 26 at Hawai'i, 24 at Colorado State, 25 at Washington) ... freshman Becca Strehlow is averaging 11.27 aps during Pac-12 play, which is fourth among conference players ... Moenoa has at least one block in every contest and has also produced at least five digs in each of her last six matches ... senior Bojana Todorovic, who has 50-career, double-figure digs contests, is 16th all-time on UCLA's career digs list (1,063). Next up is Jessica Fine (15th, 1,105). Todorovic has reached 20 digs in a match three times this year ... senior Rachael Kidder surpassed the 1,200-kill mark against Arizona on Oct. 7 and now has 1,211 for her career. She ranks 21st on UCLA's all-time list. Next up are Jenny Johnson (20th, 1,212) and Brynn Murphy (19th, 1,242) ... junior Mariana Aquino has not committed a hitting error in three straight matches, recording 16 kills in 28 attempts (.571 hitting percentage) ... Nightingale is averaging 1.76 blocks per set over her last five contests (30 blocks in 17 sets). The sophomore has produced at least five blocks in nine matches, which leads the team ... junior Meg Norton has at least four digs in eight of her last nine contests ... in four fewer matches, Lowe has already more than doubled her kill total from last season (53 in 2011 and 115 in 2012).
SCOUTING THE STANFORD CARDINAL
Stanford (14-2) is tied with Washington atop the Pac-12 standings at 6-0 after the Cardinal beat previously-undefeated Oregon in five on Oct. 5 and Oregon State in three on Oct. 7. Both Cardinal losses have been to ranked teams (Penn State and Hawai'i), while they have also defeated ranked squads Florida and Oregon. Stanford is hitting .285 as a team and is averaging 14.42 kills, 0.97 aces, 16.44 digs and 3.04 blocks per set. Five players are averaging at least 2.00 kps, led by junior Carly Wopat's 3.04 to go with a team-best 1.65 bps. Freshman Jordan Burgess is second on the team with 2.88 kps and 3.25 dps, while freshman Inky Ajanaku is third with 2.40 kps and second with 1.19 bps. Freshman Madi Bugg (9.16 assists per set) and senior Karissa Cook (7.19) are splitting setting duties, while sophomore Kyle Gilbert is first on the team with 3.69 dps. John Dunning is in his 12th year as Stanford's skipper and has a record of 325-59 with the Cardinal and a 762-161 mark in 27-plus seasons as a head coach.
THE MATCHUP: BRUINS VS. CARDINAL
The Bruins completed a 4-0 record against the Bay Area schools last year, marking the first time they had accomplished the feat since 2000. UCLA won in five in Westwood on Sept. 23 and swept the Cardinal in Stanford on Oct. 29. In the match at UCLA (25-18, 25-18, 23-25, 27-29, 15-9), the Cardinal came back from 2-0 down to force a fifth, but the Bruins won the deciding set behind a career-best 30 kills from Rachael Kidder. Kelly Reeves added 17 kills and 19 digs, Tabi Love posted 10 kills and Bojana Todorovic recorded 16 digs. At Stanford a month later, the Bruins won 26-24, 27-25, 25-10, saving three set points in both the first and second sets. Kidder had 16 kills, Mariana Aquino notched 10 kills and Reeves produced 13 digs. Stanford still leads the all-time series 42-38 and is 22-13 at home against UCLA, including a four-set victory at Maples Pavilion on Nov. 5, 2010. After dropping 18 straight in the series from 2001 to 2009, the Bruins have won four of five against the Cardinal and two of three in Stanford.
SCOUTING THE CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS
California (9-7) is 3-3 in Pac-12 play, falling in four to Oregon on Oct. 3 and sweeping Oregon State on Oct. 5. The Golden Bears are 1-2 against ranked teams this season, winning at Hawai'i, but losing to Stanford and Oregon. Cal is hitting .235 as a team, averaging 12.75 kills, 1.23 aces, 14.48 digs and 2.91 blocks per set. Four players are averaging over 2.00 kps, led by junior Adrienne Gehan's 3.35 kps. Senior Correy Johnson is second with 2.69 kps, sophomore Christina Higgins is third (2.39 kps) and senior Shannon Hawari is fourth with 2.38 kps and second with 1.23 bps. Junior Joan Caloiaro handles the setting duties and is averaging 9.47 assists per set. Defensively, freshman Mary McKennon is first with 3.52 dps, while senior Kat Brown is tops with 1.35 bps. Rich Feller is in his 14th year at California and has a record of 277-144 in Berkeley and a 576-311 mark in 27-plus seasons as a head coach.
THE MATCHUP: BRUINS VS. GOLDEN BEARS
The Bruins lead the all-time series with the Golden Bears 54-6 after sweeping them last year in a pair of four-set victories. On Sept. 24 at the John Wooden Center, the Bruins won 25-17, 25-20, 19-25, 25-15 behind a double-double by Kelly Reeves (14 kills, 14 digs) and double figures in kills for Rachael Kidder (12), Tabi Love (11) and Mariana Aquino (10). In Berkeley on Oct. 28, UCLA won 25-17, 20-25, 25-17, 25-16. Kidder had 22 kills, Love added 14 kills, Zoë Nightingale posted 10 kills and Bojana Todorovic recorded 12 digs. The Bruins are 23-3 in Berkeley. Cal's last win in the series came in five at Haas Pavilion on Nov. 6, 2010. Four of the Bruins' six losses to the Golden Bears have come in five sets.