BOULDER, Colo. - Junior Karsta Lowe led all players with 19 kills, senior Mariana Aquino had a career-high 17 kills with a .400 hitting percentage and sophomore Karly Drolson added a personal-best 23 digs, but the 11th-ranked Bruins lost a five-set decision at Colorado on Friday. Set scores were 29-27, 15-25, 26-24, 23-25, 12-15.
The Bruins fall to 9-3 overall and 0-2 in Pac-12 play, while the Buffaloes improve to 9-2 and 1-1 in league action.
Senior Kelly Reeves (11 kills, 12 digs) and freshman Jordan Robbins (21 assists, 12 digs) each had double-doubles. Redshirt freshman Haley Lawless added a career-high 13 digs to go with six kills, while junior Zoë Nightingale posted nine blocks and five kills. Junior Monica Stauber recorded 23 assists and six digs, as the Bruins hit .169.
Despite 10 ties in the opening set, the Bruins never trailed in taking the first. Equal at three, the Bruins went on a 9-3 run to go up 12-6. Aquino had two kills during the run, Lowe, Nightingale, Reeves and Robbins added kills, Aquino and freshman Claire Felix teamed up for a block and Colorado committed a pair of errors. The Buffaloes closed the gap to 13-11, and with the margin still two at 16-14, a 3-0 UCLA run on a Reeves kill and back-to-back Colorado attack errors put the visitors on top 19-14.
Colorado responded with a 6-2 run to equal things at 20. The score would be tied again at 22 and 23 all, when an Aquino/Felix combo block gave the Bruins their first of five set points. But each of the first four times UCLA had a set point, Colorado saved it. Equal at 27, a Lowe kill gave the Bruins a fifth set point and they finally capitalized on a Colorado attack error to take the opener 29-27. Aquino, Lowe and Reeves each had three kills in the first set to pace the Bruins. Nightingale added four blocks, as the Bruins had six as a team, and out-hit the Buffaloes .286 to .118.
The Bruins had slim one-point leads of 1-0 and 3-2 in the second set, but the Buffaloes pulled away to even the match. Tied at six, Colorado scored three in a row to take a 9-6 edge. With the score 13-11, the Buffaloes scored six unanswered to break it open at 19-11. UCLA netted two of the next three to make it 20-13, but another 4-0 Colorado run gave the home squad 11 set points. The third time was the charm, as the Buffaloes won the second 25-15. Aquino, Lowe and Reeves each had three kills in the second set, as the Bruins were out-hit .233 to -.024.
UCLA raced out to an early 7-3 lead in set three, but four in a row by the Buffs equaled things at seven. UCLA still led 10-9, but an 8-2 Colorado run put the home squad ahead 17-12. That is when the Bruins started their rally. Kills by Lowe, Aquino and Lawless got UCLA to within a pair at 17-15. Trailing 19-16, the Bruins scored four straight on an Aquino kill, a Nightingale solo block, a Colorado attack error and a Nightingale kill to re-take the advantage at 20-19.
Colorado tied things up again at 20 and 21-all, but kills from Nightingale and Lowe put the Bruins ahead 23-21. Another Lowe kill gave the Bruins two set points at 24-22, but the Buffaloes saved the first two attempts. A Lowe kill earned UCLA a third set point and it was the charm, as an Aquino kill finished up a 26-24 victory. Aquino led the way with six kills, while Lowe added five with no errors in 10 attempts. Drolson posted seven digs, as the Bruins out-hit the Buffaloes .213 to .209.
The Bruins scored the first five points of set four on kills by Reeves, Lowe and Robbins, a Nightingale solo block and a Colorado attack error. The Buffs scored the next two, but a 7-0 UCLA run put the visitors up 12-2. A pair of Lowe kills and a pair of Colorado attack errors made it 9-2. A duo of Lowe/Nightingale combo blocks, with a Buffs attack error in between, put the Bruins ahead 12-2. The Buffaloes had a major comeback in them though, scoring seven straight and 10 of 11 to get to within one at 13-12. Lowe and Reeves kills put the Bruins ahead by two at 15-12, but a 3-0 Colorado run evened things at 15.
Aquino and Reeves kills again put UCLA up by two at 17-15, but three in a row for Colorado put the home team up for the first time in the set at 18-17. UCLA regained the lead on an Aquino kill and Colorado attack error to make it 19-18, and with the score 20-19, the Buffaloes netted four straight to go ahead 23-20. With the score 24-21, a Lowe kill and a Colorado attack error got the Bruins to within one, but the Buffaloes would force a fifth set with a 25-23 win. Lowe had five kills, while Aquino and Reeves each had three. Drolson, Lawless and Robbins all had five digs. UCLA was out-hit .143 to .105.
The Bruins led early 4-1 in the deciding set on kills by Nightingale, Lowe, Lawless and Felix. Colorado came back to tie things at five. UCLA re-took the advantage at 7-6, but a 5-1 run by the Buffs put the home team up 11-8. Back-to-back kills by Lawless got the Bruins to within one, but that was as close as they would get. On Colorado’s second match point, the home squad wrapped up a 15-12 victory. Lawless and Lowe each had three kills for the Bruins, who were out-hit .625 to .368.
The Bruins finally play their first home matches of the season next week, hosting Stanford on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and California on Friday at 6 p.m. at Pauley Pavilion. Both contests will be televised live on Pac-12 Networks.