Dec. 4, 2004
LOS ANGELES - Brynn Murphy and Becky Green notched 15 kills apiece as 15th-seeded UCLA (20-10) advanced to its fifth Regional Semifinal in the last six years with a 31-29, 30-24, 30-27 sweep of Long Beach State (24-7) in Saturday's second round of the NCAA Tournament at Pauley Pavilion.
UCLA will now travel to Seattle next weekend and face second-seeded Penn State on Friday night. The winner of the UCLA-PSU match will battle either #7 seed Washington or #10 seed St. Mary's in Saturday's Regional Final for the right to advance to the final four.
Long Beach State scored the first three points of the match, but UCLA battled back, finally knotting the game at 16-16 on a kill by Green. The Bruins would not take their first lead of the match until a kill by Nana Meriwether gave UCLA a 21-20 edge. A kill by Murphy two plays later gave UCLA the lead for good at 22-21. The Bruins had three game points at 29-26, but LBSU used a pair of kills and a Bruin error to tie the game at 29-29. A block assist by UCLA's Meriwether and Green gave the Bruins a 30-29 edge and UCLA finally took game one at 31-29 on an error by LBSU's Mariko Crum.
Game two saw several ties early. UCLA finally opened some distance on the scoreboard with a 7-2 run late in the game to give the Bruins a 24-17 lead. UCLA allowed Long Beach State just eight points off the 49ers serve the entire game and a Rachell Johnson kill ended game two at 30-24 and gave UCLA a 2-0 lead in the match.
Game three went back-and-forth as the teams were tied eight times and traded the lead four times. The game was tied as late at 26-26 before kills by UCLA's Brittany Ringel and Becky Green - sandwiched around an LBSU hitting error - gave UCLA triple match point at 29-26. LBSU's Makini Thompson erased one match point, but once again Johnson notched a kill to give UCLA the 30-27 game three win and send the Bruins into the next round of the NCAA Tournament.
The win, UCLA's 20th of the season, marks the sixth-straight season in which UCLA has tallied at least 20 wins. Murphy paced UCLA with her 15 kills and a .444 hitting percentage while Green added 15 kills and a .268 percentage.
Chrissie Zartman notched 28 digs in the three games, a career-best for the three-time first-team All-Pac-10 libero. Zartman also surpassed the 2,000 career dig plateau, entering next weekend with 2,005 career digs. She becomes just the 10th player in NCAA Division I history to record 2,000 career kills. Meriwether added seven kills and a match-high four block assists in the win.