Aug. 25, 2007
Omaha, Neb. - Senior Rachell Johnson and junior Ali Daley each had 19 kills, while freshman Dicey McGraw posted 12 kills in her second collegiate match, but the fifth-ranked Bruins fell to #1 Nebraska in four games, 23-30, 30-22, 18-30, 21-30, on Saturday in the championship match of the AVCA College Volleyball Showcase in Omaha, Neb.
Johnson was just two shy of her career high in kills, hitting .500 and making just two errors for the Bruins (1-1). Daley recorded her second straight double-double by adding 18 digs, while junior Nellie Spicer had a double-double of her own with 55 assists and 21 digs, just one off a career best. Daley and Spicer were each named to the All-Tournament Team.
The Bruins never led by more than one in the first game, despite a decent .240 attack percentage. But the Huskers (2-0) improved that total by 100 points at .340 to take the first. With UCLA ahead 6-5, Nebraska rallied for four in a row to take a 9-6 advantage. The Huskers built the lead up to six at 16-10, but three straight by the Bruins cut the deficit to 16-13.
However, the Huskers showed their dominance midway through the first game to pull away. Ahead 18-16, Nebraska netted five in a row to go up by seven. After a UCLA sideout, four more by the Huskers gave them a double-digit advantage at 27-17. The Bruins played inspired at the end of the first game, going on a 6-2 run, but eventually fell 30-23. Johnson had five kills in the initial game.
UCLA rode its inspired play from the end of the first game into a wire-to-wire victory in game two. The Bruins never trailed and were never tied as game two became the Daley and McGraw show. The duo combined for 17 of the team's 21 kills to even the match at one. With the Bruins holding a 4-3 lead, they went on a 5-1 run, capped by three straight kills by McGraw to go up 9-4. Daley added four kills in that opening stretch and two more in a row by the junior gave the Bruins a lead of 15-9.
Nebraska cut things to 15-12, but the Bruins netted six of the next seven, with McGraw knocking down three more during the run to give her team a 21-13 edge. The Bruins' blocking attack came alive with three in the second game, including a combined effort from Johnson and fellow senior Meghan Schoen to give UCLA its largest lead of nine at 26-17. The game would naturally end on a kill by McGraw to give the Bruins the 30-22 victory.
The first half of game three was close, with neither team leading by more than two once both teams reached the 10-point threshold. Up 14-13, Nebraska netted four of the next five to take an 18-14 edge. Two consecutive kills by McGraw trimmed the Bruins' deficit to 18-16, but the Huskers turned it on just as they did towards the end of the first game to take the lead in the match. Nebraska, which hit .450 for the game, scored 12 of the game's final 14 points to take the third 30-18.
The Bruins never led in game four, but were not out of it until a late run by Nebraska made the margin larger than it actually was. Trailing 7-4, the Bruins had a kill by McGraw and back-to-back efforts by Daley to even things at seven. But Nebraska took the lead back on the next point and never looked back. Up 13-12, a 3-0 mini-run gave the Huskers a four-point edge. The Bruins got it back to within two at 18-16, but the Huskers scored 12 of the next 17 points to record the four-game victory.
The Machado sisters each added double figures in digs for UCLA, with junior Jade posting a career-best 15 and freshman Jazmin recording 11. Schoen also chipped in with eight kills.
Sarah Pavan led five Huskers in double-figure kill totals with 25, with Tracy Stalls adding 16.
The Bruins return to the floor on Friday when they begin play at the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic in Honolulu. UCLA will face Louisville on Friday at 8 p.m. PT, Kansas State on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. and Hawai'i on Monday at 8 p.m.