DENVER, Colo. - Three Bruins had double figures in kills, led by sophomore Maddy Klineman’s career-best 19, as #11 UCLA defeated #24 Creighton in four sets on Saturday to win the Denver Invitational. Set scores were 25-23, 22-25, 25-23, 25-19.
The Bruins improve to 8-1, while the Bluejays fall to 7-2. Junior Karsta Lowe was named the Denver Invitational Most Valuable Player, her second such honor of the year after also winning the award at the season-opening LMU Invite and her third All-Tournament Team accolade in as many weeks. Senior Kelly Reeves was also named to her third-consecutive All-Tournament Team.
Klineman hit a personal-best .424, as the Bruins hit .281 as a team. Reeves had her second-consecutive double-double and third of the year with 15 kills and 13 digs, while Lowe added 13 kills, a .400 hitting percentage and five blocks. Freshman Claire Felix tallied seven kills.
In the opening set, the Bruins largest lead was three, while the Bluejays biggest edge was four. UCLA scored the first three points of the match on two kills by junior Zoë Nightingale and a solo block by Klineman, but Creighton came back with a 14-7 run to take its set-best lead of four at 14-10. UCLA then made its run, going on an 11-4 spurt to take its set-best advantage of three at 21-18. The first five points of the run came on three Klineman kills, a Nightingale kill and a combo block by Aquino and Lowe. Trailing 17-15, a 6-1 Bruin run put them up by three. Felix had two kills, Lowe, Reeves and Stauber posted one apiece and Creighton had an attack error.
The Bluejays got back to within one at 23-22, but the Bruins scored two of the last three on kills by Lowe and Aquino to take the opener 25-23. Reeves paced UCLA with five kills and no errors in seven attempts in the first to go with four digs. Lowe added four and Klineman and Nightingale posted three each. The Bruins out-hit the Bluejays .455 to .379.
The Bruins had as much as a four-point lead in the second set, but were unable to hold on to it, as Creighton evened the match. Trailing 5-4, the Bruins scored five in a row on a Klineman kill, an Aquino/Felix combo block and three Creighton errors to go up 9-5. However, the Bluejays responded with a 5-0 run of their own to take a 10-9 edge. Down 11-10, the Bruins scored three in a row on two Reeves kills and a bad Creighton set. UCLA still led by two at 14-12, but runs of 5-0 and 9-1 gave the Bluejays a 21-15 advantage.
UCLA scored four of the next five on a Felix kill, an Aquino/Felix combo block and two Creighton errors to get to within three at 22-19, but two in a row for the Bluejays gave them five set points. The Bruins staved off the first three on an Aquino/Reeves combo block and kills by Reeves and Felix, but the Bluejays would win the second 25-22. Klineman and Reeves each had four kills, while Felix added three. Aquino posted four blocks, as the Bruins were out-hit .308 to .156.
It was another close set in the third, as the largest lead for either team was three. UCLA scored five of the first seven points of the set on kills by Lowe and Klineman and three Creighton attack errors. With UCLA still up 11-9, the Bluejays netted a 5-1 run to go up 14-12. The Bruins responded with three in a row on successive kills by Lowe, Klineman and Aquino to go ahead 15-14. Creighton was down 16-15 when it scored two straight to re-take the lead, but two attack errors in a row by the Bluejays put the Bruins back up 18-17.
Creighton would tie things at 18 and 19-all, but were unable to get back into the lead. A Reeves kill and a Lowe/Nightingale combo block put the Bruins ahead 21-19. Leading 22-21, Klineman and Aquino kills gave UCLA three set points. Creighton stopped the first two attempts, but a Klineman kill, her team-best sixth of the set, clinched a 25-23 victory. Lowe and Reeves each added four kills in the third, with Reeves also recording five digs. The Bruins out-hit the Bluejays .200 to .152.
After three close sets, the Bruins won the fourth wire-to-wire to wrap up the victory. Tied at two, UCLA scored five in a row on kills by Lowe and Klineman and three straight Creighton errors. Holding a 12-6 lead, the Bruins scored four in a row on a Klineman kill, an Aquino/Reeves combo block and Felix and Aquino kills to put them ahead by a set-best 10 at 16-6.
UCLA led 18-9, but Creighton scored five in a row to cut its deficit to four at 18-14, but the Bluejays would get no closer. Kills by Lowe and Klineman and a Lowe/Nightingale combo block put the Bruins back up by seven at 21-14. Eight points later, a Reeves kill on UCLA’s second match point closed out a 25-19 victory. Klineman paced the Bruins with six kills in the fourth, while Lowe added five, as the Bruins out-hit the Bluejays .333 to .214.
The Bruins close out non-conference play on Wednesday when they travel down the 405 to take on Long Beach State at 7 p.m. Free audio and Gametracker will be available at UCLABruins.com.