Second-Ranked Bruins Travel to Arizona Schools

Oct. 4, 2011

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Friday, Oct. 7
7 p.m. - #2 UCLA at Arizona State
Online Coverage: Gametracker | Video

Saturday, Oct. 8
7 p.m. - #2 UCLA at Arizona
Online Coverage: Gametracker | Video
TV: Fox Sports Net (Tape Delay)

The second-ranked Bruins (13-2, 6-1 Pac-12) conclude their four-match road trip in the desert this weekend, facing Arizona State (4-11, 0-6) on Friday and Arizona (10-5, 2-4) on Saturday. First serve for both matches is at 7 p.m.

Gametracker and video will be available for both matches this weekend. Links can be found on the schedule page at

Saturday's match versus Arizona will be broadcast by Fox Sports Net on tape delay with Paul Sunderland and Karch Kiraly calling all the action. The first airing of the match will be on Sunday at 3 p.m. on FSN Prime Ticket. It will also be re-aired on FSNPT at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Monday at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and Tuesday at 12 p.m.

The Bruins open up a four-match homestand against the Oregon schools next weekend. UCLA hosts Oregon State on Friday, Oct. 14 and Oregon on Saturday, Oct. 15. Both matches start at 7 p.m. at the John Wooden Center.

The Bruins gained 42 more points and another first-place vote to remain at second in this week's AVCA Top 25 Coaches poll. UCLA, which vaulted to #2 last week, has 1,387 points and two first-place nods. The #2 ranking is the highest UCLA has been in the AVCA poll since it began the 2000 campaign as the preseason #1. It is the Bruins' highest regular-season ranking since being #2 on Sept. 6, 1994. The Bruins also stayed at second for the second week in a row in this week's Volleyball Magazine rankings, earning 10 more points (190 total) and two first-place votes. In the Pac-12 preseason coaches poll, the Bruins were fifth with 90 points.

Junior Bojana Todorovic continues to pace all Pac-12 players in service aces per set at 0.46 and is one of five players listed in the Top 10 of their respective statistical categories. Junior Rachael Kidder is in the Top 10 twice, ranking fifth in both kills (4.28) and points (4.86) per set. Senior Lainey Gera is third in digs per set at 4.66, sophomore Mariana Aquino is fifth in blocks per set at 1.25 and senior Lauren Van Orden is sixth in assists per set at 10.72. As a team, the Bruins are in the top half of the Pac-12 in five categories. UCLA comes in at third in digs per set (15.85) and opponent hitting percentage (.139), fourth in assists (13.00) and kills per set (13.89) and fifth in blocks per set (2.67). Overall, the Bruins are seventh in hitting percentage at .234, but have improved on that during league play, swinging at a .275 clip, which is first among conference squads. UCLA is also second in opponent hitting percentage (.158), assists per set (13.88) and kills per set (14.92) during conference contests.

Junior Rachael Kidder is ranked in the Top 25 nationally in two statistical categories, coming in at 21st in kills per set (4.28) and 24th in points per set (4.86). Two more players, junior Bojana Todorovic and sophomore Mariana Aquino, are in the Top 35. Todorovic is 24th in aces per set (0.46), while Aquino is 33rd in blocks per set (1.25). As a team, the Bruins are 26th in bps (2.67), 30th in assists per set (13.00) and 33rd in kps (13.89).

The Bruins' 6-1 start to Pac-12 play is their best record to open conference action since 2006 when they won their first seven before a five-set loss to Stanford. UCLA went 15-3 in the then-Pac-10 that season, tying for second, and advancing to the National Semifinals ... the Bruins are a perfect 6-0 on Fridays ... UCLA is 13-0 this season when heading into intermission with a second-set win, but 0-2 when it loses the second ... the Bruins hold a 6-0 record when hitting better than .250 in a match. On the flip side, UCLA is 12-0 when holding its opponent under a .200 hitting percentage ... the Bruins have not lost this year when out-killing their opponent (13-0) or out-aceing them (8-0).

Arizona State (4-11) is still looking for its first Pac-12 victory, having gone 0-6 so far with two sweeps, two four-set losses and two five-set defeats. Last weekend, the Sun Devils were in Northern California and fell to Stanford in three sets and California in four. Arizona State is 0-6 against ranked teams this season. ASU is hitting .165 as a team, averaging 12.07 kills, 1.07 aces, 13.88 digs and 2.23 blocks per set. Four players are averaging over 2.00 kps, led by sophomore Ashley Kastl, who is at 3.42 kps and third with 2.02 dps. Sophomore Danica Mendivil (2.66), junior Erica Wilson (2.26) and freshman Nora Tuioti-Mariner (2.04) are also above 2.00 kps, while Wilson leads the team with 13 aces. Sophomore Sarah McGaffin handles the setting duties and is posting 10.33 assists per set. Defensively, sophomore Stephanie Preach is first on the squad with 4.33 dps, while sophomore Alexis Pinson tops the team with 1.02 bps. Jason Watson is in his fourth year at Arizona State and holds a record of 43-64 in Tempe and 117-82 in six-plus seasons as a head coach.

Tempe has been the Bruins' house of horrors over the past two seasons, as Arizona State pulled off a four-set victory last year and a three-set upset in 2009. On Oct. 16, 2010, 15 kills from Rachael Kidder, 29 digs from Lainey Gera and a double-double from Bojana Todorovic (11 kills, 20 digs) were not enough in a 26-28, 19-26, 26-24, 20-25 loss. The Bruins got their revenge with a sweep of ASU at the John Wooden Center on Nov. 12 (25-22, 25-17, 25-19). Gera tied a school record for digs in a three-set match with 28, while Kidder (14) and Todorovic (10) were each in double figures in kills. UCLA leads the all-time series 62-8. Despite back-to-back losses at Wells Fargo Arena, the Bruins are still 26-6 in Tempe, having won six in a row there before their last two defeats. Winning the first set will also be a good omen for UCLA, which is 55-0 against Arizona State when taking the opener, while just 7-8 when losing the first.

Like their neighbors to the north, the Wildcats dropped both matchups to California (3-0) and Stanford (3-1) last weekend to fall to 10-5 overall and 2-4 in Pac-12 play. Arizona has also defeated Oregon State in four and Washington State in three, while getting swept by Oregon and Washington. The Wildcats are 0-5 against ranked teams this season, winning just one of 16 sets. Arizona is hitting .236 as a team, averaging 13.45 kills, 1.18 aces, 14.65 digs and 1.96 blocks per set. Three players are averaging at least 2.00 kps, led by freshman Madison Kingdon, who has 3.80 kps to go along with 2.02 dps. Senior Cursty Jackson is second at 3.00 kps and first with a .341 hitting percentage and 1.06 bps, while senior Courtney Karst is third with 2.65 kps. Arizona has employed two setters, but freshman Chloe Mathis has seen more of the action recently and is averaging 8.68 assists per set. Defensively, sophomore Candace Nicholson tops the squad with 3.50 dps, while senior Marketa Hanzlova is second with 2.92 dps and first with 12 aces. David Rubio is in his 20th year at Arizona and has a record of 370-217 in Tucson and 492-283 in 24-plus seasons of coaching.

UCLA has won six in a row against Arizona, winning in Tucson in five sets on Oct. 15 of last year and in four sets at the John Wooden Center on Nov. 13, to improve to 51-17 all-time against the Wildcats (22-10 at Arizona). At McKale Center last season, Rachael Kidder (18 kills, 11 digs) and Kelly Reeves (17 kills, 10 digs) each had double-doubles, Lainey Gera added 32 digs and Bojana Todorovic posted 25 digs, as the Bruins came back from 2-1 down to defeat the Wildcats 22-25, 25-23, 24-26, 25-15, 16-14. In Westwood, UCLA won 25-19, 21-25, 25-17, 25-14 behind 14 kills from Kidder, 10 kills and 11 digs by Todorovic, 27 digs from Gera and 49 assists and eight digs by Lauren Van Orden. Arizona's last win in the series was a four-set triumph in Tucson on Nov. 24, 2007.

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