LOS ANGELES - Senior Karsta Lowe led all players with 18 kills, hitting .452, and adding seven digs and five blocks, as the Bruins recorded their second-straight sweep with a Saturday matinee victory over LIU Brooklyn at the Concourse Hotel at LAX Classic at Loyola Marymount. Set scores were 25-17, 25-13, 28-26.
The Bruins (2-0) hit .308 for the match, their 46th-straight win when eclipsing the .300 mark, as senior Julie Consani tallied 41 assists and five digs. Freshman Reily Buechler added nine kills, five digs and four blocks, while sophomore Jennie Frager was 5-for-8 (.625) in kill attempts with no errors.
Freshman Olga Strantzali had an error-free match for the second time in a row, posting a 6-0-15 line for a .400 percentage, adding seven digs. Defensively, sophomore Taylor Formico had 13 digs, while junior Rachel Inouye added six. Sophomore Claire Felix notched five blocks to go with four kills.
Despite three ties early on, the Bruins never trailed in the opening set. Equal at three, the Bruins went on a 6-1 run. An on-two kill by Consani, a combo block from Felix and Buechler and an LIU attack error made it 6-3. After a Blackbird sideout, kills by Lowe and Buechler, and another attack error, increased the edge to 9-4.
The Bruin lead never dipped below three for the rest of the set. At 19-15, UCLA closed the first on a 6-2 run to win it 25-17. Buechler and Lowe combined on five of those six points on three Lowe kills and two from Buechler, including the set-clincher. Lowe was 7-for-9 (.778) in kills with no errors, Buechler added five kills and Strantzali was 3-for-5 (.600) with no miscues in the first. The Bruins, who had three blocks, out-hit the Blackbirds .424-.125.
UCLA trailed early in set two 3-1, but scored seven straight and never looked back. The 7-0 run came on three Bruin blocks, two aces by senior Zoë Nightingale and two LIU errors. After a sideout, the Bruins got kills from Strantzali and Felix and another attack error to make it 11-4. Following another sideout, five straight for the Bruins on two LIU errors, a Strantzali kill and a pair of combo roofs (Buechler/Felix and Consani/Felix) made it 16-5.
The Bruins’ lead never dropped below double figures for the rest of the set, as UCLA won it 25-13. Felix led the Bruins with four kills, adding four blocks, while Lowe also had four roofs. The Bruins had six blocks as a team, to go with four aces, and hit .261, limiting the Blackbirds to a -.161 percentage.
Neither team led by more than three in set three, as there were 11 ties and four lead changes. Tied at five, back-to-back Buechler kills and an LIU attack error made it 8-5. The Blackbirds rallied for an 8-2 run to go up 13-10, but a Buechler/Frager combo block and kills by Frager and Lowe evened the score at 13. LIU would again stretch its lead to there at 21-18, 22-19 and 23-20, but UCLA came back to finish off the sweep.
Back-to-back Lowe kills made it 23-22, but LIU sided out to earn a set point, however three straight by Lowe gave UCLA a match point at 25-24. The Blackbirds saved the first try, but another Lowe kill gave the Bruins a second match point. The second attempt was squashed by LIU, but a Strantzali kill gave UCLA a third match point, and it was the charm, as Lowe’s 10th kill of the set closed out a 28-26 win. Buechler and Frager each added four kills. The Bruins out-hit the Blackbirds .255 to .182. Defensively, Formico had eight digs, Lowe added six and Strantzali posted five.
The Bruins finish up the weekend against the host Lions at 7:30 p.m. Free audio, video and stats will be available at UCLABruins.com.