Friday, Sept. 5
UCLA vs. #9 Illinois
Stanford's Maples Pavilion
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Online: Live Stats
Saturday, Sept. 6
UCLA vs. #1 Penn State
Stanford's Maples Pavilion
Online: Live Stats
BRUINS HEAD NORTH FOR THE PAC-12/BIG TEN CHALLENGE
UCLA travels to Stanford’s Maples Pavilion this weekend for the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge. The Bruins face a pair of teams they bested on their way to the 2011 NCAA Championship, taking on ninth-ranked Illinois on Friday at 8 p.m. and top-ranked and defending national champion Penn State on Saturday at 5 p.m.
BRUINS ON THE TUBE AND THE NET
The UCLA-Illinois match will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Networks, with live stats also available on the women's volleyball schedule page at UCLABruins.com. Only live stats will be available for Saturday's match against Penn State.
The Bruins travel home Sunday only to head back on a plane on Tuesday to Honolulu prior to playing in the Outrigger Resorts Volleyball Challenge. UCLA faces San Francisco on Thursday, Sept. 11 at 8 p.m., #20 Hawai’i on Friday, Sept. 12 at 10:30 p.m. and Utah State on Saturday, Sept. 13 at 5 p.m.
NEWS AND NOTES
The Bruins have won 46 straight matches when hitting .300 or better, including twice last weekend in wins against Binghamton and LIU Brooklyn ... UCLA is two wins away from 1,200 for the program’s history ... head coach Michael Sealy is eight wins away from 100 for his career.
BRUINS IN THE PAC-12 RANKINGS
Through one weekend, the Bruins are third among Pac-12 teams in assists per set (13.78) and opponent hitting percentage (.110) and fourth in kills (14.89), blocks (2.78) and aces (1.56) per set. Individually, senior Karsta Lowe is second in kps (6.25) and points per set (7.31), tied for fourth with fellow senior Zoë Nightingale in bps (1.38) and fifth in hitting percentage (.463). Senior Julie Consani is second in assists per set (11.89), while sophomore Taylor Formico is tied for second in digs per set (4.67).
UCLA, USC SWITCH HOME MATCHES ON 2014 SCHEDULE
The home matches for this season’s UCLA-USC rivalry have switched, with the September tilt now being played at Galen Center and the November contest taking place at Pauley Pavilion.
Originally, the Bruins were scheduled to host the Trojans on Tuesday, Sept. 23 at Pauley Pavilion and travel across town on Friday, Nov. 28.
Due to the Sunset Blvd. water main break on July 29, which caused flood damage to UCLA volleyball’s two home venues, Pauley Pavilion and the John Wooden Center, the Bruins and the Trojans will switch home dates.
The Sept. 23 match at Galen will be televised live on Pac-12 Networks at 8 p.m., while the Nov. 28 contest at Pauley will air live on ESPNU at 8:30 p.m.
A decision as to the sites, as well as any potential dates and time changes, for the remaining nine UCLA home matches on the 2014 slate will be announced shortly.
SCOUTING THE ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI
Illinois hosted the Illini Classic last weekend, sweeping all three matches against Long Beach State, Southern Illinois and 20th-ranked North Carolina. The Fighting Illini hit .324 as a team, averaging 13.67 kills, 1.00 aces, 13.78 digs and 2.44 blocks per set. Redshirt junior Jocelynn Birks had 3.56 kps and 2.56 dps, senior Morganne Criswell posted 3.00 kps and senior Liz McMahon produced 2.67 kps and 1.11 bps. Redshirt sophomore Allison Palmer (6.11 assists per set) and junior Alexis Viliunas (4.33) split the setting duties last weekend, while freshman Brandi Donnelly averaged a team-best 3.67 dps.
THE MATCHUP: BRUINS VS. FIGHTING ILLINI
The most recent meeting between UCLA and Illinois came in the National Championship match on Dec. 17, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas. The teams traded 25-23 scores in the first two sets, with UCLA winning the opener. In the third, the Bruins were down two set points, but scored the last four of the set to win it 26-24, cementing the championship with a 25-16 victory in the fourth. Only two members of the current team saw action in that contest, with Zoë Nightingale recording eight kills and a career-high 11 blocks, while Karsta Lowe appeared in one set. The Bruins have won all 11 meetings with Illinois, including 10 on neutral sites. Six of the 11 victories have been straight-set wins, four have come in four sets and one in five.
SCOUTING THE PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
Penn State hosted its own tournament last weekend and won all three matches in sweeps, defeating TCU, Iona and William and Mary. The Nittany Lions hit .436 as a team, averaging 14.78 kills, 1.11 aces, 11.11 digs and 2.44 blocks per set. Freshman Ali Frantti averaged 3.44 kps, junior Megan Courtney posted 3.11 kps and redshirt junior Aiyana Whitney had 2.78 kps. Senior Micha Hancock quarterbacks the offense and averaged 11.33 assists per set.
THE MATCHUP: BRUINS VS. NITTANY LIONS
Like Illinois, Penn State was on the Bruins’ path to the NCAA Championship in 2011. Meeting in the Regional Semifinals in Lexington, Ky., UCLA recorded a 25-20, 25-22, 25-21 victory. Of the current Bruins, Zoë Nightingale had four kills and three blocks in that match, while Karsta Lowe appeared in one set. The Bruins lead the all-time series with Penn State 8-4 and are 7-3 against the Nittany Lions in neutral sites. UCLA has won four of the last five, with the lone Penn State victory in that stretch coming on Aug. 30, 2008 in Honolulu (3-0).