Dec. 1, 2006
Katie Carter had 13 kills and four blocks and Nana Meriwether added 12 kills and five blocks as fourth-seeded UCLA opened the 2006 NCAA Division I Volleyball Tournament with a 30-24, 30-21, 30-23 sweep of UAB on Friday night at Pauley Pavilion.
UCLA improves to 30-3 on the year while UAB's season ends at 27-10.
UAB hung tough early, but the host Bruins used a short four-point spurt off the serve of Rachell Johnson to take a 13-9 lead. The UCLA lead reached six points at 20-14 on a Johnson kill, but UAB closed the gap to two points at 24-22. A Johnson kill and UAB error pushed the margin back to four points at 26-22 and a Kaitlin Sather kill ended game one at 30-24.
UCLA never trailed in game two, opening the game with blocks by Meriwether and Ali Daley. The Bruins opened up a six-point edge at 11-5 on a Carter kill. The UCLA lead slowly increased, reaching double digits for the first time at 27-17 on a block by Meriwether and Nellie Spicer. UCLA ended game two at 30-21 on a kill by Spicer to take a two games to none lead into halftime.
Game three saw the visiting Blazers continue to battle hard as the teams were tied eight times, including as late as 19-19 before UCLA took the lead for good at 20-19 on a Sather kill. That kill was part of a 7-2 UCLA run as the Bruins opened up a 25-20 lead on another block by Spicer and Meriwether. The night ended on back-to-back Bruin blocks, with the trio of Carter, Sather and Johnson giving UCLA match point while Carter and Johnson combined on the final block as UCLA earned the sweep.
Carter led all players with her 13 kills and hit .385 to go along with her four blocks en route to a team-high 15 points. Meriwether had 12 kills and hit .435 for 14.5 points. Johnson had nine kills and a team-high six blocks for 13.0 points while Sather's 10 kills and .304 hitting percentage was good for 12.0 points. Spicer dished 40 assists and grabbed a team-high nine digs in the win. UAB was paced by Ivana Bozic with 12 kills and 16.0 points while Fernanda Domingos had 12 kills and 13.5 points.
As a team, UCLA dominated with a .371 hitting percentage, while UAB hit just .211. The Bruins also outblocked the Blazers by a 12.5 to 3.0 margin. The win gives UCLA its first 30-win season since 1994, when the Bruins made it all the way to the NCAA Championship match.
UCLA hosts Utah in Saturday's second round matchup. The Utes held off Michigan State in five games earlier on Friday night. First serve between UCLA and Utah on Saturday night is scheduled for 7 p.m. PST in Pauley Pavilion.