Dec. 8, 2007
STANFORD, Calif. - Junior Kaitlin Sather registered a career-high 23 kills, but the eighth-seeded Bruins fell in the Regional final to top-seeded Stanford on Saturday night in four games. Game scores were 28-30, 30-28, 30-26, 30-27.
The Bruins finish their season at 23-11, posting their fourth Regional final appearance over the last five seasons. Stanford (31-2) advances to the finals, where it will face USC in the national semifinal.
UCLA hit an impressive .270 for the match with 10 blocks. Freshman Katie Mills added 14 kills, while senior Rachell Johnson posted 13 kills and five blocks. Junior Nellie Spicer recorded 59 assists and 25 digs and junior Jessica Fine had 22 digs. Freshman Dicey McGraw and junior Ali Daley each had nine kills, with Daley adding 17 digs.
Johnson, Sather and Spicer were all named to the Regional All-Tournament Team.
UCLA led throughout most of the initial game, but early on Stanford had a 6-5 lead. A 5-1 run by the Bruins gave them a 10-7 edge, an advantage they would not relinquish for the rest of the set. Leading 14-13, the Bruins scored four straight to go up by five at 18-13. A Johnson kill, a Spicer/Mills block and two Stanford attack errors accounted for the run.
UCLA's lead stayed between three and five until late in the game, reaching a game-high six at 26-20 on a Daley kill. Leading 29-24, the Bruins had five game points, but squandered the first four as Stanford charged back to within 29-28. On the fifth game point, Sather ended the suspense with her 10th kill of the game to give the Bruins the 30-28 win. UCLA hit .312 in the first game, with Sather totaling more than half of the Bruins' 19 kills.
Stanford scored the first four points of game two and held the lead for most of the set. Trailing 7-4, the Bruins scored three of the next four to cut their deficit to one at 8-7. The Cardinal again got their lead up to as many as four, but the Bruins came back and took their first advantage of the game at 23-22 as part of a 5-1 run. Johnson had a kill and a block during the run.
Out of a Stanford timeout, the Cardinal came back with four of the next five to go up 26-24. Stanford held onto the lead for the rest of the game, despite the Bruins closing to within one on four occasions, taking the game 30-28. UCLA had just one error in game two, hitting .386. Sather added six more kills in the second game, with Johnson posting four.
Game three went similar to game two, with Stanford holding the lead for most of the set. Trailing 12-9, the Bruins scored three in a row to even it at 12. Stanford rallied with six of the next eight to take a four-point advantage at 18-14, but UCLA made a run and took its first lead of the game at 20-19. Spicer had two aces and Sather added two kills during a 6-1 run.
The Cardinal came back with the next four to re-take the lead 23-20 and force the Bruins into a timeout. UCLA cut its deficit to one four different times, but could not get over the hump, as Stanford won it 30-26. The Bruins had a good hitting effort at .231, with Mills producing six kills in the third game.
After Stanford netted the first point of game four, the Bruins came back with the next seven to force the Cardinal into an early timeout. Daley had a kill and an ace and Mills added two kills and a block during the run. The Bruins still held the lead at 11-5, but the Cardinal scored six in a row to even the game at 11. Stanford tacked on another 4-1 run on top of that to take a 15-12 advantage.
Down 17-15, the Bruins tied it at 17, but the Cardinal came back with the next three to go up 20-17 and force UCLA into a timeout. The Bruins could get no closer than two the rest of the way, falling 30-27. UCLA hit only .173 in the final set. Sather and Mills each had four kills in the final game.
Alix Klineman paced the Cardinal with 24 kills and 23 digs, while Cynthia Barboza posted 21 kills and 18 digs. Erin Waller added 19 kills and Foluke Akinradewo had 18.