Oct. 18, 2011
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Friday, Oct. 21
7 p.m. - Colorado at #6 UCLA
Online Coverage: Gametracker | Audio | Video
Saturday, Oct. 22
7 p.m. - Utah at #6 UCLA
Online Coverage: Gametracker | Audio | Video
SECOND HALF OF PAC-12 PLAY KICKS OFF AT HOME
The sixth-ranked Bruins (16-3, 9-2 Pac-12) begin the second half of Pac-12 play this weekend at the John Wooden Center, hosting Colorado (5-14, 0-11) on Friday and Utah (8-12, 3-8) on Saturday. Both matches start at 7 p.m.
JOHN WOODEN CENTER ADVISORY
All seating at the John Wooden Center for women's volleyball matches is general admission, first-come first-served. Gates and the ticket office open at 6 p.m. for both nights and tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for youths (16 and under) and free for students with a valid Bruin Card. Parking is $11 in Lot 4 (corner of Charles E. Young Drive North and Westwood Plaza), which is the closest lot to the Wooden Center.
BRUINS ON THE NET
Gametracker, free video and free audio will be available for both matches this weekend at UCLABruins.com. Darren Preston, Michael Sondheimer and Connor Reeves will call all the action. Links can be found on the women's volleyball schedule page.
The Bruins travel to the Bay Area to face a pair of Top 10 teams next weekend, facing California on Friday, Oct. 28 and Stanford on Saturday, Oct. 29. Both matches start at 7 p.m.
BRUINS IN THE POLLS
The Bruins came in at sixth for the second straight week in this week's AVCA Top 25 Coaches poll. UCLA earned six more points in this week's rankings. The Bruins also remained at sixth for the second week in a row in the Volleyball Magazine rankings, losing one point. In the Pac-12 preseason coaches poll, the Bruins were fifth with 90 points.
BRUINS IN THE PAC-12 RANKINGS
The Bruins have stepped up their offensive attack through the first round of Pac-12 play, ranking first among all teams with a .279 hitting percentage during conference contests. UCLA is also second in assists (13.85) and kills (14.82) per set and third in opponent hitting percentage (.160) in league matches. For the season, the Bruins are in the top half of the Pac-12 standings in six categories, coming in at third in opponent hitting percentage (.144) and digs per set (15.79), fourth in hitting (.245), assists (13.18) and kills per set (14.06) and fifth in blocks per set (2.57). Individually, five players are in the Pac-12 Top 10, with junior Rachael Kidder appearing in fifth place twice in both kills (4.37) and points (4.94) per set. Junior Bojana Todorovic is second in service aces per set (0.40), senior Lainey Gera is third in digs per set (4.97), senior Lauren Van Orden is fifth in assists per set (10.73) and sophomore Mariana Aquino is seventh in blocks per set (1.19).
BRUINS IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
Junior Rachael Kidder is ranked in the Top 20 nationally in two statistical categories, coming in at 20th in both kills (4.37) and points per set (4.94). Senior Lainey Gera entered the Top 50 for the first time, ranking 46th with 4.97 digs per set, while senior Lauren Van Orden is 48th with 10.43 assists per set. As a team, the Bruins are in the Top 50 in four categories. They are 19th in assists per set (13.18), 21st in kills per set (14.06), 30th in blocks per set (2.57) and 45th in hitting percentage (.245).
SCOUTING THE COLORADO BUFFALOES
The Buffaloes (5-14) are still looking for their first Pac-12 victory, having been swept in all 11 matches, including at home to the Arizona schools last weekend. Colorado is 0-6 against ranked teams this season. The Buffs are hitting .175 as a team and are averaging 11.89 kills, 0.88 aces, 13.76 digs and 1.82 blocks per set. Junior Kerra Schroeder is first on the squad with 4.06 kills per set and 15 aces and is second with 2.58 digs per set. Sophomore Nikki Lindow is the only other player averaging over 2.00 kps, coming in at 2.08. Senior Alyssa Valentine quarterbacks the offense and is averaging 9.83 assists per set. Sophomore Megan Beckwith is first with 4.37 digs per set, while senior Anicia Santos tops the squad with 0.85 blocks per set. Liz Kritza is in her third year at Colorado and is 11-56 in Boulder, as well as 94-105 in six-plus years of coaching overall.
THE MATCHUP: BRUINS VS. BUFFALOES
UCLA improved to 4-0 all-time against Colorado with a 25-18, 25-16, 25-20 victory in Boulder on Oct. 2. Junior Bojana Todorovic led the Bruins with 12 kills and no errors in 16 attempts for a career-high .750 hitting percentage, adding 12 digs for a double-double. Senior Lainey Gera also had 12 digs, as the Bruins hit .308 for the match. The previous three meetings between the two squads came on Sept. 1, 2006 in Honolulu (UCLA 3-0), Aug. 30, 2002 in Honolulu (UCLA 3-1) and Nov. 13, 1992 in Westwood (UCLA 3-0).
SCOUTING THE UTAH UTES
The Utes, who play at USC on Friday, have gone 1-1 in each of their last two weekends to move to 8-12 overall and 3-8 in conference play. Last weekend, Utah swept Arizona State in Salt Lake City before losing in four to Arizona on Saturday. The Utes have not won a set this season in six matches against ranked teams. As a team, Utah is hitting .192 with 12.24 kills, 0.99 aces, 14.97 digs and 3.04 blocks per set. Three players are averaging at least 2.00 kps, led by sophomore Morgan Odale, who is at 3.03 to go with a team-best 14 aces and 2.70 digs per set, which is third on the squad. Freshman Chelsey Schofield is second with 2.83 kps and 2.76 dps, while sophomore Erin Redd is third with 2.69 kps, second with 13 aces and first with 1.48 bps and a .316 hitting percentage. The Utes have employed two setters over the last few weekends, with junior McKenzie Odale averaging 7.90 assists per set and fellow junior Abby Simmons at 5.19 aps. In the back row, sophomore Nikki Sim is leading the way with 4.04 dps. Beth Launiere is in her 22nd year at Utah and has a record of 433-250.
THE MATCHUP: BRUINS VS. UTES
The Bruins lead the all-time series with the Utes 9-1 following a 25-12, 25-20, 25-17 victory in Salt Lake City on Sept. 30. Junior Rachael Kidder had a match-high 18 kills to go with eight digs, junior Bojana Todorovic posted 10 kills and nine digs and senior Lauren Van Orden had a double-double with 39 assists and 10 digs. Senior Lainey Gera (13) and sophomore Meg Norton (10) were also in double figures in digs, as the Bruins hit .352 for the match. Utah's only appearance in Westwood was a three-set loss on Dec. 2, 2006 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Utes' lone victory in the series was a five-set triumph in Salt Lake City on Sept. 17, 2004. UCLA has won 25 of 29 sets against Utah.