Sept. 9, 2006
DENVER - Sophomore setter Nellie Spicer posted two double-doubles while senior middle blocker Nana Meriwether hit a combined .523 for Saturday's two matches as third-ranked UCLA stayed undefeated at 9-0 on the season by sweeping Georgia and defeating host Denver in four games en route to winning the Pioneer Classic on Saturday.
The Bruins opened the day with a 30-14, 30-24, 30-20 sweep of Georgia. The Bruins dominated from the start, hitting .275 and never trailing in game one while forcing the Bulldogs to hit -.075. UGA played UCLA closer in game two, but the Bruins had better success in forcing sideouts to win game two by six points. Game three was dominated by the UCLA offense as the Bruins notched 21 kills on 38 attacks with just one hitting error to earn the sweep in a quick 75 minutes. Much like game one, UCLA never trailed in game three.
In the win over Georgia, Katie Carter paced UCLA with a match-high 11 kills and four blocks for a team-high 13.5 points. Meriwether had nine kills on 15 swings with a .533 attack percentage, plus a team-high four block assists, to post 11.0 points. Meghan Schoen (11.5 points on seven kills, three blocks and three aces) and Emily Clements (10.5 points on nine kills and three blocks) also had double-figure points. Spicer dished 36 assists and tied Jordan Smith with a team-high 11 digs. As a team, UCLA hit .352 while UGA hit just .140.
The Bruins got behind early in the nightcap as the host Pioneers scored the first three points of the match as Denver shocked UCLA by taking game one, 30-24, as the Bruins hit .000 in the opening game. UCLA rebounded in game two, although the Bruins did not take their first lead of the match until a Denver attack error gave the Bruins a 10-9 edge. Game two was tied at 21-21 before a Meriwether kill gave UCLA the lead for good. Back-to-back kills by Rachell Johnson pushed the lead to three points at 25-22 and Meriwether knocked kills on two of the game's final three rallies as UCLA evened up the match with a 30-26 win.
Game three was tight as the Bruins and Pioneers were tied 12 times and exchanged leads eight times. UCLA held a slim 25-24 lead before a pair of Johnson kills plus two Colby Lyman aces and a Denver attack error gave the Bruins a five-point run at the end of the game for a 30-24 victory and a 2-1 lead in the match.
The teams exchanged mini-runs in game four, with neither team able to take a substantial advantage. Denver led 26-24 late in the game, but three-straight Ali Daley kills gave UCLA a 27-26 lead. After a Pioneers timeout, Lyman's service ace pushed the UCLA lead to two points at 28-27. Denver got a kill for the sideout, but another kill by Daley gave UCLA match point at 29-27. The Bruins converted immediately as Johnson ended the evening with her 10th kill of the match for a 30-27 game four win and a 3-1 victory for the match.
Meriwether dominated again with a team-high 20 points, notching 17 kills on 29 swings (.517) to go along with five blocks. Katie Carter used 13 kills and four blocks en route to 15.5 points with Daley (13.5 points on 13 kills and a block) and Johnson (12.5 points on 10 kills and three blocks) also keys to the UCLA victory. Spicer notched another double-double with 58 assists and 10 digs while Smith paced the Bruins with 15 digs.
Following the tournament, Spicer was named the Pioneer Classic MVP while Meriwether was named to the all-tournament team.
UCLA continues their cross-country non-conference slate on Tuesday (Sept. 12) as the Bruins travel to Towson, Md., to face Towson before three matches on the weekend at the University of Maryland's tournament in College Park.