Aug. 23, 2011
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Friday, Aug. 26
4 p.m. - #11 UCLA vs. Quinnipiac
Online Coverage: Video
Saturday, Aug. 27
12:30 p.m. - #11 UCLA vs. Cal State Fullerton
Online Coverage: Video
7:30 p.m. - #11 UCLA at Loyola Marymount
Online Coverage: Gametracker | Audio | Video
SEASON OPENS ACROSS THE 405 AT LOYOLA MARYMOUNT
The 11th-ranked Bruins won't have to go too far to begin their 2011 season, as they travel a few miles down the 405 freeway for the LMU Invitational. UCLA faces Quinnipiac on Friday at 4 p.m. and then plays twice on Saturday against Cal State Fullerton at 12:30 p.m. and Loyola Marymount at 7:30 p.m.
BRUINS ON THE NET
Gametracker and free video will be available for all three matches this weekend courtesy of LMU. In addition, the first of 15 free regular-season broadcasts at UCLABruins.com will take place on Saturday with the LMU contest, as Darren Preston, Michael Sondheimer and Connor Reeves call all the action.
The Bruins travel to Hawai'i for their annual foray on the islands, facing three Top 25 teams. UCLA takes on #22 Long Beach State on Thursday, Sept. 1, #21 Ohio State on Friday, Sept. 2 and #10 Hawai'i on Sunday, Sept. 4. All matches start at 8 p.m. PT.
BRUINS IN THE POLLS
UCLA came in at 11th in the AVCA Top 25 Coaches preseason poll, earning 903 points. The Bruins are one of five Pac-12 teams ranked in the Top 11. UCLA is also at 11th in the preseason Volleyball Magazine rankings with 102 points. In the Pac-12 preseason coaches poll, the Bruins were fifth with 90 points.
BRUINS IN SEASON OPENERS
The Bruins have won 12 straight season openers after sweeping Kansas State in Hawai'i last year. Nine of the 12 matches have been sweeps. This year marks the first time since 2007 (Omaha, Neb.) that UCLA has not opened the season in Hawai'i and the first time since 2004 (at Cal State Northridge) in which the Bruins have started a campaign in California.
HOPING TO BUCK THE TREND
The Bruins will look to end a streak of not making it through the first weekend with an undefeated record. In each of the last four seasons, UCLA has started 2-1. On the bright side, after the 2-1 start the Bruins have ripped off at least seven wins in a row.
SCOUTING THE QUINNIPIAC BOBCATS
The Bobcats, members of the Northeast Conference, return seven letterwinners and six starters from last year's squad that went 6-24 overall and 4-12 (ninth) in the NEC. Senior Kayla Lawler handles the setting duties and averaged 8.86 assists per set to go with 2.13 digs per set last season. On the outside, the Bobcats return senior Kelby Carey, who averaged 2.15 kills per set and 2.86 dps and senior Stephanie Biediger, who averaged 1.97 kps and 2.22 dps. Robin Lamott Sparks is in her fifth year at Quinnipiac and holds a 16-108 record. The Bruins have never faced the Bobcats.
SCOUTING THE CAL STATE FULLERTON TITANS
The Titans are the defending Big West Conference champs after going 26-6 last year and 14-2 in league. Fullerton bowed out in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, but returns nine letterwinners and four starters from its 2010 squad. Senior Torrie Brown is the top outside hitter returning after she averaged 3.14 kills per set last season. Also on the outside and in the middle is junior Kayla Neto, who posted 3.04 kps and 0.72 blocks per set a year ago. The quarterback of the offense is senior setter Andrea Ragan, who averaged 11.77 assists per set and 2.36 digs per set last year. Carolyn Zimmerman is in her 10th season at Fullerton and holds a record of 134-137. The Bruins had won the first 28 meetings against the Titans dating back to 1970, but Fullerton won the last matchup on Sept. 18, 2009 at Titan Gym. The Titans won the first and third sets and held on for a 16-14 win in the fifth to complete the upset. UCLA had previously lost only two sets to CSF and last beat them Sept. 10, 2008 in Fullerton in a sweep.
SCOUTING THE LOYOLA MARYMOUNT LIONS
The Lions went 15-15 last season in head coach Tom Black's first year at LMU, going 6-8 in the West Coast Conference for a fourth-place finish. Loyola Marymount returns 11 letterwinners and five starters from last year's squad, led by senior outside hitter Jasmine Rankins, who averaged 3.79 kills per set, 2.34 digs per set and 50 aces in 2010. Also returning on the outside is junior Felicia Arriola, who had 2.35 kps and 2.28 dps. Handling the setting duties is junior Olivia Bailey, who averaged 10.19 assists per set and 2.09 dps a year ago. The Bruins hold an 8-1 lead in the all-time series with the Lions. The teams last met on Sept. 5, 2009 in Las Vegas, with UCLA posting a 25-22, 25-23, 25-14 victory. LMU's lone win in the series was a five-set triumph on Dec. 6, 1986 at the John Wooden Center in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Bruins are 3-0 all-time at LMU, last winning there on Sept. 26, 1990 in three sets.