Oct. 15, 2012
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Wednesday, Oct. 17
7 p.m. - Utah at #6 UCLA
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Online Coverage: Gametracker | Audio
Friday, Oct. 19
7 p.m. - Colorado at #6 UCLA
Online Coverage: Gametracker | Audio
SIXTH-RANKED BRUINS HOST UTAH AND COLORADO
The defending national champion and sixth-ranked Bruins return to the John Wooden Center for Breast Cancer Awareness Week, hosting Utah on Wednesday and Colorado on Friday. Both matches start at 7 p.m. The Utah contest will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Networks and the Colorado match is scheduled to be live streamed on UCLABruins.com.
BRUINS ON THE NET
Gametracker and free audio will be provided for both matches this weekend. Links will be available on the women's volleyball schedule page at UCLABruins.com.
The Bruins continue their four-match homestand next weekend, hosting Washington State on Friday, Oct. 26 at 8 p.m. and fifth-ranked Washington on Sunday, Oct. 28 at 12 p.m. Both matches will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Networks.
BRUINS IN THE POLLS
The Bruins moved up one position to sixth in this week's AVCA Coaches poll. UCLA lost 31 points, but leapfrogged USC in this week's poll. The Bruins are one of five Pac-12 teams ranked in the Top 7 in the nation (#2 Stanford, #3 Oregon, #5 Washington, #7 USC). The Bruins were ranked as the AVCA preseason #1 for just the third time in program history. On the last two occasions, UCLA won the National Championship in 1990 and finished runner-up in 1992. The next Volleyball Magazine poll comes out on Tuesday. The Bruins were sixth in last week's rankings. UCLA was also ranked #1 in the preseason Pac-12 Coaches poll.
The Bruins enter the week seventh nationally in hitting percentage at .297 and are also in the Top 20 in three other categories. UCLA is 10th in assists per set (13.57), 12th in kills per set (14.52) and 20th in blocks per set (2.81). The Bruins are one of two teams (Penn State) that are ranked in the Top 20 in hitting, kills, assists and blocks per set ... UCLA is second among Pac-12 teams in hitting percentage and third in aps and kps. The Bruins also have the highest hitting mark in the conference in league matches (.297) ... UCLA has hit over .300 10 times this season and is undefeated when eclipsing the mark ... on Oct. 12 at Stanford, the Bruins lost for the first time this season on a Friday, as well as when winning the second set of a match ... nine of UCLA's 13 victories have been sweeps ... all 13 victories have come when the Bruins have had a higher hitting percentage and more blocks than their opponent ... UCLA is 11-0 when holding its opponent under a .200 hitting percentage ... the Bruins hit .519 as a team against Idaho on Sept. 7, which was the highest hitting percentage in a match for UCLA in the rally scoring era (since 2001).
Sophomore Zoë Nightingale enters this week's play at 25th in the nation in blocks per set at 1.40. Senior Tabi Love is 32nd in the country in kills per set (4.21) and 41st in points per set (4.63), sophomore Karsta Lowe is 25th in hitting percentage (.392) and senior Rachael Kidder is tied for 48th in kps (4.55) ... Lowe ranks second among all Pac-12 players in hitting, while sophomore Megan Moenoa is fourth in the league in assists per set (10.62) ... junior Kelly Reeves is nine digs shy of 700 for her career. She is also 33 kills away from 500 as a Bruin ... after being held below the mark all last season, Love has cracked the 20-kill mark five times this year, all on the road (20 at Nebraska, career-high 26 at Hawai'i, 24 at Colorado State, 25 at Washington, 25 at Stanford). She also played all six rotations on Oct. 14 at California and had a career-high seven digs and her first service ace as a Bruin ... Moenoa has at least one block in every contest and has also produced at least five digs in each of her last eight matches, including a career-high 16 at Stanford on Oct. 12 ... senior Bojana Todorovic, who has 52-career, double-figure digs contests, is 16th on UCLA's all-time list and one dig away from 1,100. She can reach the Bruin Top 10 this week, with Lauren Fendrick ranking 10th at 1,138. Todorovic has reached 20 digs in a match four times this year ... Kidder has 1,247 kills for her career and ranks 19th on UCLA's all-time list. Next up is Jenny Evans, who is 18th with 1,278 ... junior Mariana Aquino has not committed a hitting error in five straight matches, recording 25 kills in 46 attempts (.543 hitting percentage). Aquino has seven contests this season with at least four kills and no errors ... Nightingale is averaging 1.72 blocks per set over her last seven contests (43 blocks in 25 sets). The sophomore has produced at least five blocks in 11 matches, which leads the team ... junior Meg Norton had 27 digs in two matches last weekend after totaling 26 in her previous five contests ... in four fewer matches, Lowe, who missed last week's contests with a concussion, has already more than doubled her kill total from last season (53 in 2011 and 115 in 2012).
SCOUTING THE UTAH UTES
After starting Pac-12 play with five straight losses, the Utes (11-10) have won 2-of-3, winning in four against Washington State on Oct. 6 and sweeping Arizona State on Oct. 14, both at home. The Utes are 0-3 against ranked teams, falling in four at home to both Stanford and Washington and in three at Oregon. Utah is hitting .241 as a team, averaging 13.03 kills, 1.24 aces, 12.46 digs and 3.16 blocks per set. Three players are averaging over 2.00 kps, led by sophomore Chelsey Schofield's 3.25. Junior Morgan Odale is second with 2.95 kps and 2.34 dps, and first with 25 aces, while junior Erin Redd is third with 2.29 kps, and second with 21 aces and 1.13 bps. Senior McKenzie Odale (7.07 assists per set) and freshman Kendall Cygan (5.85) have split setting duties. Junior Nikki Sim is first in dps at 2.70, while sophomores Bailey Bateman (1.59 bps) and Shelby Dalton (1.10) are each averaging over a block per set. Beth Launiere is in her 23rd year as Utah's head coach and has a record of 447-268.
THE MATCHUP: BRUINS VS. UTES
The Bruins are 10-1 all-time against the Utes, sweeping a pair of matches last year in Utah's first season in the Pac-12. In Salt Lake City on Sept. 30, UCLA won 25-12, 25-20, 25-17. Rachael Kidder had 18 kills and eight digs, while Meg Norton posted 10 digs, as the Bruins hit .352. In Westwood on Oct. 22, UCLA claimed a 25-12, 25-14, 27-25 victory. Kidder produced 23 kills and nine digs, while Reeves added 11 digs and seven kills, with the Bruins hitting .411. Each of the last four victories have been sweeps for UCLA, which is 9-0 when winning the opening set against Utah. The Utes' lone victory against the Bruins was in five in Salt Lake City on Sept. 17, 2004. The Bruins are 2-0 at home against Utah.
SCOUTING THE COLORADO BUFFALOES
Colorado (13-7) has alternated losses and wins in its last five matches. The two victories have come against Washington State in three and Arizona State in five at home. The Buffaloes have been swept in both their appearances against ranked teams (Oregon and Washington). Colorado is hitting .213 as a team and is averaging 12.44 kills, 1.23 aces, 11.88 digs and 2.38 blocks per set. Four players are averaging over 2.00 kps, led by freshman Alexis Austin's 2.96. Junior Nikki Lindow (2.25), sophomore Neira Ortiz Ruiz (2.11) and sophomore Kelsey English (2.01) are also above the 2.00 mark. Freshman Nicole Edelman is the setter and is averaging 9.49 assists per set to go with a team-best 23 aces. Senior Kerra Schroeder is tops on the squad with 2.80 dps, while Lindow is first with 1.41 bps. Liz Kritza is in her fourth season at Colorado and has a record of 32-73 and a 108-112 mark in seven-plus seasons of head coaching.
THE MATCHUP: BRUINS VS. BUFFALOES
The Bruins are 5-0 all-time against the Buffaloes, sweeping Colorado in Boulder and winning in four at the John Wooden Center. On Oct. 2 in Colorado, Bojana Todorovic had a double-double with 12 kills and 12 digs in a 25-18, 25-16, 25-20 victory. On Oct. 21 in Westwood, Rachael Kidder produced 13 kills and 12 digs, while Kelly Reeves added 12 digs in a 25-17, 25-15, 19-25, 25-23 win. The Bruins have won 15 of 17 sets against the Buffaloes.