Big Weekend on Tap for #6 UCLA in Northern California

Oct. 25, 2011

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Friday, Oct. 28
7 p.m. - #6 UCLA at #2 California
Online Coverage: Gametracker | Video

Saturday, Oct. 29
7 p.m. - #6 UCLA at #5 Stanford
Online Coverage: Gametracker | Video (Fee)

The sixth-ranked Bruins (18-3, 11-2 Pac-12) face a big weekend in the battle for the top spot in the conference standings, as they travel to #2 California (21-2, 11-2) on Friday and #5 Stanford (16-3, 10-3) on Saturday. Both matches start at 7 p.m.

Gametracker and video (free for Cal match, fee for Stanford contest) will be available for both matches this weekend. Links can be found on the women's volleyball schedule page at

The Bruins are back home at the John Wooden Center next weekend and will host Washington on Friday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. and Washington State on Sunday, Nov. 6 at 1 p.m.

For the third week in a row, the Bruins are sixth in the AVCA Top 25 Coaches poll. UCLA earned two more points in this week's rankings. The Bruins also remained at sixth for the third week in a row in the Volleyball Magazine rankings, receiving the same number of points. In the Pac-12 preseason coaches poll, the Bruins were fifth with 90 points.

With two more victories, the Bruins will produce their 13th-straight, 20-win season ... junior Rachael Kidder recorded 23 kills in three sets on Saturday versus Utah, the most kills for a Bruin in a three-set match since Sept. 2, 2001 when Kristee Porter had 25 ... UCLA is 7-0 at home this season. The last time the Bruins went undefeated at home was 1999 when they went 11-0 ... the Bruins are a perfect 9-0 on Fridays ... UCLA is 9-0 when hitting .270 or better ... defensively, the Bruins are 17-0 when holding their opponent under a .200 hitting percentage ... the Bruins' .411 hitting percentage against Utah on Saturday was a season best.

With 23 kills on Saturday against Utah, junior Rachael Kidder moved into first place among all Pac-12 players in conference matches only with 4.70 kills per set. The junior is also first in points per set at 5.19. As a team in league matches, the Bruins are second in hitting percentage (.272), opponent's hitting percentage (.153), assists per set (13.80) and kills per set (14.78). Overall, UCLA is in the top half of the Pac-12 standings in six categories, ranking third in digs per set (15.93) and opponent's hitting percentage (.141), fourth in hitting (.244), assists per set (13.21) and kills per set (14.11) and fifth in blocks per set (2.53). Kidder is third with 4.45 kills per set and fifth with 5.01 points per set. Junior Bojana Todorovic ranks second with 0.36 service aces per set, senior Lainey Gera is third at 4.88 digs per set, senior Lauren Van Orden is fifth with 10.49 assists per set and sophomore Mariana Aquino is eighth at 1.10 blocks per set.

Junior Rachael Kidder is ranked in the Top 20 nationally in two statistical categories, coming in at 16th in points per set (5.01) and 17th in kills per set (4.45). As a team, the Bruins are in the Top 50 in four categories. They are 17th in assists per set (13.21), 23rd in kills per set (14.11), 39th in blocks per set (2.53) and 48th in hitting percentage (.244).

The last time California lost was on Sept. 24 when the top-ranked Golden Bears were upset by UCLA at the John Wooden Center. Since then, Cal has won eight in a row, including five sweeps, to ascend back to the #2 spot in the national rankings heading into Friday's rematch with the Bruins. Last weekend, Cal went on the road and swept both Arizona State and Arizona. The Bears are hitting .279 as a team, averaging 14.30 kills, 1.05 aces, 16.93 digs and 2.99 blocks per set. Six different players are averaging at least 2.00 kills per set, led by senior Tarah Murrey's 4.18. She is also first with 16 service aces and second with 3.42 digs per set. Sophomore Adrienne Gehan (2.86), junior Shannon Hawari (2.84), junior Correy Johnson (2.34), freshman Lillian Schonewise (2.12) and freshman Christina Higgins (2.09) are also above 2.00 kps. Junior Elly Barrett quarterbacks the offense and is averaging 11.77 assists per set to go with 2.34 dps, which is third on the squad. In the back row, junior Robin Rostratter is averaging a team-best 5.31 dps. At the net, three are posting at least 1.00 blocks per set, led by junior Kat Brown's 1.29. Hawari is second at 1.28 and Schonewise is third with 1.00. Rich Feller is in his 13th year at Cal and holds a 263-132 record in Berkeley, as well as a 562-299 mark in 26-plus seasons of coaching.

Behind a balanced attack of four players in double figures in kills, UCLA knocked off Cal in four sets on Sept. 24, 25-17, 25-20, 19-25, 25-15. Kelly Reeves had 14 kills and 14 digs, Rachael Kidder added 12 kills, Tabi Love posted 11 and five blocks and Mariana Aquino recorded 10 kills. Lauren Van Orden also had a double-double with 40 assists and 10 digs, Lainey Gera added 19 digs, Meg Norton produced 10 and Zoë Nightingale posted six kills and seven blocks. The Bruins lead the all-time series with the Bears 53-6 after snapping a two-match losing streak and are 22-3 in Berkeley. UCLA lost in five sets last year at Haas Pavilion on Nov. 6. The Bruins' most recent victory at Cal occurred on Oct. 30, 2009 in a four-set win.

Stanford, just like its Bay Area counterpart, has won eight straight matches since going 0-2 in Los Angeles on the Sept. 23-24 weekend. The Cardinal defeated both Arizona and Arizona State in four sets last weekend. Stanford is hitting .241 as a team, averaging 13.81 kills, 1.04 aces, 17.33 digs and 3.20 blocks per set. Sophomore Rachel Williams is first on the team with 4.39 kills per set, while sophomore Carly Wopat is second with 3.14 kps and first with 1.54 blocks per set and a .365 hitting percentage. Junior Karissa Cook handles the setting duties and is posting 11.17 assists per set. Defensively, freshman Kyle Gilbert leads the squad with 3.29 digs per set. John Dunning is in his 11th year at Stanford and holds a record of 315-52 on The Farm and 742-154 in 26-plus seasons of coaching.

The Bruins bested the Cardinal in a thrilling five-setter on Sept. 23 at the John Wooden Center, winning 25-18, 25-18, 23-25, 27-29, 15-9. Rachael Kidder had a career-high 30 kills to go with eight digs, while Kelly Reeves (17 kills, 19 digs) and Lauren Van Orden (61 assists, 14 digs) each had double-doubles. Lainey Gera added 20 digs, Bojana Todorovic posted 16 and Tabi Love produced 10 kills. Stanford still leads the all-time series 42-37, but UCLA has won three of the last four. The Cardinal own a 22-12 edge in Palo Alto and defeated the Bruins in four sets last Nov. 5. UCLA's last win at Stanford was a five-setter on Oct. 31, 2009.

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