September 1, 1998
LOS ANGELES - Bruin faithful got their first chance to see the UCLA women's volleyball team in action today and over 100 turned out to watch an exhibition match with local rival Pepperdine. With nine rookies on the UCLA squad and seven on Pepperdine's, the two coaches agreed on a format in which basically two separate mini-matches would be played in order to see everyone in action and also test their squads before this weekend's openers.
Rookies shined for both squads throughout the evening as each team's leading hitter and starting setter were freshmen during the first set of two regular and one rally scoring games. UCLA claimed the first game of the night 15-11, then battled back to tie the second game at 14 after Pepperdine held a significant lead before the Waves prevailed 16-14. Pepperdine claimed the rally-scoring third game 15-9.
Ashley Bowles (Manhatten Beach, CA) led the Bruins with 10 kills and 11 digs while classmate Erika Selsor (Linden, CA) provided 32 assists and Angela Eckmier (North Hills, CA) served three aces in one game. Leading the Bruin returnees were sophomores Elisabeth Bachman, who hit .300 with five kills and two blocks, and Amy Nihipali, who totaled four blocks and also had five kills. Pepperdine was led by rookie Lindsay Phillips (Huntington Beach, CA) who tallied a match- high 13 kills and also served five aces, while Melissa Plass (Huntington Beach, CA) provided 31 assists.
The second half of the night saw the Bruins continue to show the strength of its youth as UCLA prevailed 15-8 and 16-14 in the regular games, then fell 12-15 in the rally-scoring game. Kate Dwyer (Laguna Beach, CA) provided 27 assists and assisted on three blocks. Danielle Ryba (Palos Verdes Estates, CA) put away seven kills and four blocks, including a pair of solos. Eckmier served three more aces and assisted on three blocks. Bruin veteran, junior Tamika Johnson (Indianapolis, IN), came through with a match-high 11 kills while sophomore Suzy Morris tallied a match-high 11 digs. Pepperdine was led by freshman Kate Taylor (Tampa, FL) who posted nine kills, while Plass provided 26 more assists and put away five kills of her own.
Overall it was an exciting night as the future of excellent volleyball was evident for both schools.