LOS ANGELES - Junior Karsta Lowe continued her outstanding weekend by setting a new career high in kills with 23, hitting .514 with four blocks, while senior Kelly Reeves added a double-double with 11 kills and 14 digs, as the 12th-ranked Bruins defeated a pesky Loyola Marymount team in four sets to win the Doubletree Los Angeles Westside Invitational.
The Bruins hit .293 for the match, with junior setters Megan Moenoa and Monica Stauber running the offense. Moenoa had 32 assists and six digs, while Stauber posted 17 assists and nine digs. Freshman Claire Felix added eight kills, sophomore Karly Drolson posted nine digs and senior Meg Norton recorded six digs.
A kill by sophomore Maddy Klineman gave the Bruins the first point of the match, but it was all Lions after that, as the host team ran away with the opener. Runs of 3-0, 6-1 and 9-2 put Loyola Marymount ahead 9-3. Trailing 10-4, the Bruins scored back-to-back points for one of only three times in the set. From there, LMU went on a 14-5 run to go up by a set-best 13 at 24-11, winning the opener 25-14. Lowe led the Bruins with three kills, as the Bruins were out-hit .292 to .083.
The Bruins didn’t have a big lead throughout the first half of the second set, but led wire-to-wire, as a late run evened the match going into the break. After trading the first eight points, a 4-1 UCLA run on kills by Felix, Reeves and Lowe and a LMU attack error put the visitors up 8-5. The Lions were within one at 9-8, but another 4-1 UCLA run made it 13-9. Lowe was a part of three of the points on two kills and a combo block with senior Mariana Aquino, while Norton added a kill to put the Bruins up by four.
LMU again cut its deficit to one at 16-15, but UCLA netted nine of the last 10 points of the set to take the second 25-16. During a 5-0 run, Reeves, Lowe and Norton had kills, while LMU committed two attack errors. After a sideout, four more errors by the Lions accounted for the final Bruin points of the nine-point win. Lowe paced the Bruins with five kills, while Reeves added three, as UCLA out-hit LMU .414 to .129.
After falling behind early 3-2 in the third, LMU came back with four in a row to go ahead 6-3. The Lions still led by three at 10-7, but kills from junior Zoë Nightingale, Lowe and Reeves evened things at 10. Following a Lion sideout, a 4-0 Bruin run gave the visitors the lead for good. Kills by Reeves and Lowe, a Reeves ace and an LMU attack error put UCLA up 14-11. The Lions closed to within one at 15-14, but could not even the score.
UCLA went on a 6-1 run to take a 21-15 advantage. Kills by Lowe and Felix and an Aquino/Norton combo block made it 18-14. After an LMU sideout, back-to-back kills by Felix and a Lion attack error put the Bruins up by a half dozen. Up 22-18, UCLA scored the last three of the set on a dump kill by Stauber and consecutive combo blocks by Lowe and Nightingale to finish off a 25-18 win. Lowe had seven kills in the third, while Felix and Reeves added three apiece. The Bruins out-hit the Lions .483 to .212.
Neither team led by more than three in a fourth set which featured 12 ties and six lead changes. The Bruins jumped out to a 5-2 lead on three Lowe kills and kills from Aquino and Stauber. LMU came back with five in a row to go ahead 7-5, but a 3-0 UCLA mini-run on two Lion errors and a Reeves kill put the visitors ahead 8-7. A 7-3 LMU run put the home squad ahead 14-11, but UCLA battled back with four in a row to go ahead 15-14. Lowe had two kills during the run, Drolson served an ace and LMU committed an attack error.
The Lions led again 17-16, but a 3-0 UCLA run on two LMU errors and a Felix kill put the visitors up for good at 19-17. Leading 22-19, the Bruins saw the Lions get three straight to tie it at 22, but UCLA scored three of the last four to win it 25-23. Kills by Lowe and Klineman gave the Bruins two match points, and on the second attempt, a Lowe kill completed the 25-23 victory.
The Bruins head to Honolulu on Tuesday for next week’s Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic. UCLA will face Santa Clara on Thursday (8 p.m. PT), New Mexico State on Friday (8 p.m. PT) and #11 Hawai’i on Saturday (10:30 p.m. PT).