LOS ANGELES - The Bruins had 16 blocks on Sunday, as junior Zoë Nightingale posted eight, senior Mariana Aquino added seven and junior Megan Moenoa had a career-best seven, but UCLA lost a five-set decision to Oregon on Sunday at Pauley Pavilion. Set scores were 25-13, 25-18, 25-27, 20-25, 9-15.
Moenoa had a double-double with 47 assists and 12 digs, as did senior Kelly Reeves, who posted 12 kills and 16 digs to go with four blocks. Junior Karsta Lowe had a team-best 18 kills, sophomore Maddy Klineman tallied 11 and Aquino added 10 kills. Defensively, sophomore Karly Drolson had 23 digs, freshman Jessyka Ngauamo tallied a career-best 13 and senior Madie Smith added 10. The Bruins (13-11, 4-10 Pac-12) hit .207 for the match.
The Ducks (14-10, 7-7 Pac-12) opened the match with the first five points and seven of the first 10, but the Bruins only allowed six points for the rest of the set to rout Oregon in the first. At 7-3, a 4-0 Bruin run on two Duck attack errors, a Lowe kill and a Lowe/Nightingale combo block evened the score. Five sideouts later with the Ducks up 10-9, the Bruins scored 10 unanswered to break it open. The first half of the 10-0 run came on an Oregon attack error, an Aquino/Reeves combo block, a Reeves kill, an Aquino/Moenoa roof and a Drolson ace.
The second five of the run started and ended with Oregon errors, with an Aquino/Moenoa block and Reeves and Aquino kills in the middle putting the Bruins ahead 19-10. All told, the Bruins would score 16 of the last 19 points of the opening set to take it 25-13. The Bruins had six blocks in the first, including four by Aquino and three from Moenoa, who also added five digs. Ngauamo recorded six digs, Lowe led the Bruins with four kills and Reeves added three, as the Bruins hit .214 and held the Ducks to a -.143 clip.
The Bruins never trailed in set two, scoring the first four points and eight of nine. Kills by Reeves and Klineman and two Oregon errors made it 4-0, and after an Oregon sideout, an Aquino kill and ace, a Klineman kill and a Lowe/Nightingale combo block put UCLA ahead 8-1. The Ducks made an 8-3 run to cut their deficit to a pair at 11-9, but would get no closer. Following an Aquino kill, the Bruins’ lead would remain between three and seven for the rest of the set.
At 19-15, the Bruins closed out the second on a 6-3 run on two Oregon service errors, an Aquino/Reeves combo block and kills from Nightingale, Reeves and Aquino, the last of which came on UCLA’s first set point to win the second 25-18. Reeves had four kills and five digs in the second, while Klineman was 4-for-7 on kill attempts with no errors. Aquino added three kills and Drolson posted seven digs, as the Bruins won the hitting battle .270 to .171.
In a third set which featured 18 ties and eight lead changes, neither team held more than a two-point edge. Oregon held an 8-6 lead, but a 4-1 UCLA run on three Lowe kills and an Aquino kill put the home team ahead 10-9. With UCLA up 13-12, the Ducks came back with three in a row to go ahead 15-13, but the Bruins responded with a 5-1 run to take an 18-16 edge. The run began with a combo block by Moenoa and Nightingale, and after an Oregon sideout, Reeves and Moenoa had kills, the Ducks committed an attack error and Drolson served an ace to give the Bruins a two-point advantage.
After ties at 18, 19 and 20, back-to-back Lowe kills gave the Bruins a two-point lead. Oregon netted four of the next five to earn a set point at 24-23, but consecutive Bruin kills by Klineman and Nightingale earned UCLA match point at 25-24. However, the Ducks scored the next three points to win the third 27-25. Lowe was 8-for-16 in the third with no errors, Aquino was 3-for-4 and Klineman also had three kills. The Bruins out-hit the Ducks .372 to .364.
The Bruins scored the first three points of set four on a Lowe kill and two Duck attack errors, but a 12-2 Oregon run put the visitors ahead 12-5. Four in a row for the Bruins on a kill by freshman Claire Felix, an Oregon attack error, a triple block by Aquino, Felix and Reeves and another Felix kill cut the deficit to three at 12-9. With Oregon up 16-11, UCLA scored three in a row on a Lowe kill, a combo block by Lowe and Nightingale and a Nightingale solo roof to get to within a pair at 16-14.
However, UCLA would get no closer than two for the rest of the set. At 18-16, a 3-0 run quickly got the Ducks’ lead back up to five, which was the eventual margin of set four, 25-20. Felix, Lowe and Reeves each had three kills to lead the Bruins in the fourth, as Oregon out-hit UCLA .208 to .106. Drolson added seven digs and Smith recorded five.
The Bruins never led in set five, as the Ducks finished off the comeback. UCLA was tied at three, but an 11-2 Oregon run gave the visitors nine match points. The Bruins made things interesting by saving the first four match points on a Felix/Moenoa combo block, an Oregon attack error, an Aquino/Moenoa roof and an Aquino kill to make it 14-9, but the Ducks would get the next point to win the set 15-9. Aquino had two kills in the fifth, as the Bruins were out-hit .227 to .000 in the last set.
The Bruins embark on their final road trip of the regular season next week, facing Washington on Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Washington State on Friday at 7 p.m. The tilt between the Bruins and the Huskies will be televised live on Pac-12 Networks, while the UCLA-WSU matchup will have a live stream on UCLABruins.com.