LOS ANGELES - Fourteen Bruins got into Friday’s season opener, including four making their blue and gold debuts, as #12 UCLA swept Albany 25-15, 25-11, 25-16 on Friday at the Doubletree Los Angeles Westside Invitational at Loyola Marymount. Junior Karsta Lowe paced the way with 11 kills, senior Mariana Aquino added 10 and senior Kelly Reeves posted seven kills and 12 digs.
Employing a 6-2 offense, the Bruins used three setters in the match. Junior Monica Stauber had 21 assists and eight digs in three sets, freshman Jordan Robbins posted 10 assists and four digs in two sets and junior Megan Moenoa notched five assists in one set, as the trio set UCLA to a .386 hitting percentage.
Aquino hit .529, Lowe .455 and Reeves .429. Sophomore Maddy Klineman had seven kills and six digs, senior Meg Norton posted six kills and no errors in 17 attempts (.353), while freshman Claire Felix added six kills. Sophomore Rachel Inouye had eight digs in one set, while sophomore Karly Drolson added six digs.
The 2013 season began with the Bruins scoring the first four points on kills by junior Zoë Nightingale, Lowe, Klineman and Lowe again. UCLA’s early lead reached 8-2 before Albany came back with three in a row to cut its deficit to 8-5. The Bruins came back with a 5-2 run on two kills by Reeves, a Felix kill and two Albany service errors to make it a 13-7 advantage.
The closest the Great Danes would get the rest of the way was four at 14-10, as the Bruins responded with four in a row on an Albany service error and consecutive kills by Reeves, Lowe and Aquino to make it 18-10. Up 19-14, the Bruins scored six of the last seven points of the set to take the opener 25-15. Kills by Aquino and Felix, with an Albany attack error in between made it 22-14. After a sideout, UCLA received a Reeves kill, an Albany attack error and a Klineman kill to win the first by 10. The Bruins hit .577 in the opener with 16 kills and only one error in 26 attempts. Reeves led the way with five kills, while Aquino and Lowe added three apiece. Albany hit .160 in the first.
After six consecutive ties to open the second set, the Bruins went on a run to win the second in a rout. An Aquino ace, a Felix kill and a combo block by Nightingale and Robbins put UCLA up 9-6. After an Albany sideout, a Felix kill and back-to-back kills by Lowe put the Bruins on top 12-7. Leading 13-9, a 7-1 UCLA spurt put the lead to double figures. Kills by Reeves and Norton and an Aquino solo block made it 16-9. After a sideout, kills by Aquino and Felix, coupled with two Albany attack errors, put the Bruins up 20-10.
Following another sideout for the Great Danes, the Bruins scored the last five to win the second 25-11. Aquino had two of the points on kills, Robbins added a dump kill and Albany made two errors, including one on match point. Norton recorded five kills in the second, Aquino had six points on four kills, a block and an ace and Felix posted three kills. Inouye and Reeves each had eight digs. The Bruins out-hit the Great Danes .400 to .029.
Just like the first set, the Bruins never trailed in finishing off the sweep. UCLA scored four of the first five points on two Lowe kills, a Klineman kill and a bad Albany set. The Great Danes came back to even the score at seven, but a 3-0 run on two Klineman kills and a combo roof by Lowe and freshman Jennie Frager made it 10-7. Albany got to within one at 11-10, but a 5-0 UCLA run on kills by Klineman and Stauber, an Aquino/Norton combo block and kills from Lowe and Norton made it 16-10.
The Great Danes would get no closer than four the rest of the way. Leading 23-16, an Albany attack error and a Lowe kill completed a 25-16 victory. Lowe had six kills in the third, Klineman added five and Aquino posted three kills. Drolson, Lowe and Stauber each had five digs, as the Bruins out-hit the Great Danes .271 to .077.
The Bruins continue their opening weekend of action on Saturday with a pair of contests at Loyola Marymount. UCLA faces North Texas at 10 a.m. and host LMU at 7 p.m. Both contests will feature free audio and video, and Gametracker. Links are available on the women’s volleyball schedule page at UCLABruins.com.