Nov. 25, 2006
LOS ANGELES - Katie Carter had a match-high 14 kills while Nana Meriwether had 13 kills on 23 swings without an error as fourth-ranked UCLA wrapped up the regular season with a 30-25, 30-26, 30-20 sweep of Oregon on Saturday night at Pauley Pavilion.
UCLA is now 29-3, 15-3 Pac-10, while Oregon falls to 17-11, 7-11 Pac-10. The Bruins will finish no worse than tied for second in the Pac-10, the best showing by UCLA since the 1999 team won the conference championship. Stanford entered Saturday night at 15-2 while UW entered their regular season finale 14-3 in conference play.
Oregon took an early 7-4 lead in game one before UCLA responded with a 6-0 run, including two Rachell Johnson aces, as the Bruins took a 10-7 edge. UCLA did not trail the rest of game one as Oregon never got closer than two points, the last time coming at 16-14. UCLA opened up a seven-point edge at 27-20 thanks to back-to-back Bruin blocks and a Kaitlin Sather kill eventually gave UCLA the 30-25 win in game one.
UCLA senior Laura Kroneberger, playing her final regular season home match, opened game two with an ace as the Bruins raced to a quick 6-1 lead. Oregon clawed back into the game, eventually tying it at 16-16. The game was still tied at 19-19 before back-to-back kills by Sather and Meriwether plus an Oregon error gave UCLA a 22-19 edge. The Bruins maintained than margin the rest of the way and a Ducks ball handling error ended game two at 30-26 as UCLA took a 2-0 lead into halftime.
The Bruins used a 7-1 run early in game three to take control, getting two kills by both Meriwether and Ali Daley to open up a quick 12-5 lead. The margin closed to five points a couple of times as Oregon tried to rally at 22-17, but a kill by Daley followed by two Carter kills and a Duck hitting error opened the lead to nine points at 26-17. A final Oregon hitting error ended the match as UCLA took game three, 30-20, and earned the sweep.
Carter and Meriwether paced UCLA, with Carter scoring a match-high 17.0 points on her 14 kills and five blocks. Meriwether was right behind her at 16.0 points thanks to 13 kills, six block assists and a .565 hitting percentage. Johnson added five kills on 11 swings for a .364 percentage as well as six blocks and three aces for 11.0 points. Jade Machado tallied a team-best 10 digs. Oregon was led by Mira Djuric with 12 kills and three aces. As a team, UCLA outhit Oregon by a .316 to .200 margin, including a 14-7 edge in team blocks.
UCLA now awaits word on its NCAA Tournament first round opponent. The full pairings for this year's tournament will be announced live on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. PST on ESPNEWS.