Aug. 31, 2001
HONOLULU - The seventh-ranked UCLA Bruins opened their 2001 schedule on Friday night with a 30-25, 30-17, 30-21 win over Michigan at the 14th Annual Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic. It was the season opener for both squads. With the win, Bruin head coach Andy Banachowski now has a career record of 899-212, and is just one win away from becoming the first women's collegiate volleyball coach in history to record 900 career victories. Only one other collegiate volleyball coach for either gender has ever reached the 900 win plateau, UCLA's Al Scates, who recorded win No. 1,000 last March.
Friday's match was the debut of a new-look Bruin team involving a new offensive scheme and four new middle blockers. UCLA finished with a team attack percentage of .350 to Michigan's .171, and racked up 12 service aces and eight team blocks while recording just four service aces for the match. Ashley Bowles led the Bruins with four service aces, giving her 101 for her UCLA career. She now needs just two more aces to break into UCLA's career top-10 in that category.
The Wolverines went out to an early 3-1 lead in the first game of the match, and from that point the teams battled back and forth. UCLA's largest lead was six points at 14-8, following a three-point service rotation for Kristee Porter. Michigan, however, would battle back, tying the game at 21-21, and forcing the Bruins into the firs timeout. UCLA never trailed in the game, opening up a five-point gap at 27-22 and winning the game 30-25 behind a .295 attack percentage.
UCLA's offense started coming together in the second game, and the Bruins took a 14-7 lead helped by a five-point service rotation by setter Erika Selsor. Bruin blocking recorded four stuffs in the game, forcing the Wolverines into a -.057 attack percentage for game two. UCLA's biggest lead of the game was 14 points at 26-12, as the Bruins closed out a 30-17 game two win.
After the break, the Bruins continued their hot streak, opening an 8-3 gap after two service aces and six points behind the service of Ashley Bowles. Banachowski tried yet another new look in the third game, with Cira Wright and Heather Cullen seeing time at middle blocker. Bowles had another impressive game at the service line, as the Bruins scored eight points with Bowles in the service box. UCLA's largest lead of the game was nine points with the final score of 30-21.
"I liked what I saw tonight," said Banachowski. "I was happy at how successful we were with our serving, having 12 aces and just four service errors. That will be a big plus for us through the season. We're trying to establish more variety in our offense, and I was pleased with the success of our middle blockers tonight."
Porter led the Bruins in kills and digs with 14 and nine, respectively, for the match. She was joined in double figure kills by Bowles, who paired 10 kills with her match-high four service aces. On the block, redshirt junior Angela Eckmier led the way for the Bruins with one solo block and three block assists.
UCLA returns to action tomorrow night, with a 5 pm match against No. 19 Kansas State at the Hawaiian Airlines Classic.