Third-Ranked Bruins Lasso the Gauchos in Four

Sept. 1, 2012

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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Sophomore Karsta Lowe had career highs in kills (14), digs (11) and blocks (6), sophomore Megan Moenoa added 31 assists and a career-high nine digs and junior Meg Norton posted a personal-best 14 digs, as the third-ranked Bruins took care of UC Santa Barbara in four sets on Saturday at The Thunderdome. Set scores were 21-25, 25-20, 25-17, 25-19.

The Bruins improve to 3-1, while the Gauchos fall to 4-2.

Lowe, who was named to the UCSB Invitational All-Tournament Team, recorded her first-career double-double, hitting .323 and serving an ace for the second straight match. Seniors Rachael Kidder (14) and Tabi Love (12) were also in double figures in kills. Sophomore Zoë Nightingale, who joined Lowe on the All-Tournament Team, had eight kills and no errors in 13 attempts (.615) to go with four blocks.

Junior Mariana Aquino was also perfect in hitting (4-0-10, .400) with six blocks and two aces. Freshman Karly Drolson (11) and junior Kelly Reeves (11) each had double figures in digs. The Bruins out-hit the Gauchos .308 to .144 for the match.

The first part of the opening stanza featured eight ties and five lead changes, but the Gauchos pulled away to take the set. UCLA scored the first three points of the match on kills by Reeves and Kidder and an ace by Aquino. The Bruins still led 4-2, but a 4-0 UCSB run gave the home team a 6-4 edge. UCLA came back with three in a row on a kill by Kidder, a Love/Nightingale combo block and a Love kill to put the visitors back up 7-6.

The Bruins still led by one at 11-10, but the Gauchos scored six of the next seven to take a 16-12 advantage. UCLA trimmed its deficit to one at 16-15 following a kill by Kidder and two in a row by Nightingale, but a 6-2 Gaucho spurt put them ahead by a set-best five at 22-17. The Bruins closed to within three at 23-20 and 24-21, but UCSB hung on for a 25-21 victory. Kidder and Nightingale each had four kills to pace the Bruins. Reeves added three kills, while Norton posted five digs. The Bruins out-hit the Gauchos .364 to .361.

UCLA never trailed in the second set to even the match. Leading 4-3, the Bruins scored five of six to take a 9-4 advantage. Kills by Love, Lowe, Moenoa and Nightingale, as well as a bad UCSB set, accounted for the five points. Still up 11-7, the Bruins posted a 7-3 run to take a set-best lead of eight at 18-10. Kidder and Lowe sparked the run, as Kidder had three kills and Lowe produced two kills and an ace.

The Gauchos made a run and closed the gap to just two at 20-18. However, UCLA held on, scoring five of the last seven to win the second 25-20. Two UCSB errors made it 22-18, and after the Gauchos scored the next two, the Bruins tallied the final three of the set on kills by Lowe and Kidder and a Lowe/Nightingale combo roof. Kidder and Lowe each had five kills to lead UCLA in the second, as the Bruins out-hit the Gauchos .282 to .171.

The Bruins scored four of the first six points of the third set, but a 5-0 UCSB run gave the home team a 7-4 edge. Still down by two at 8-6, the Bruins went on a 6-0 run to go up 12-8. Love had four kills during the run, while Aquino and Lowe each also had a kill. The Gauchos got the next three to trim their deficit to one at 12-11, but the Bruins countered with their own 3-0 run on a kill by Love, an Aquino/Lowe combo block and a UCSB attack error to make it 15-11.

The Gauchos again had a come back in them, scoring the next four to even the set at 15. Tied at 16, UCLA scored nine of the last 10 points of the set to win it 25-17. A Lowe kill and a Moenoa/Nightingale combo block made it 18-16. After a UCSB sideout, the Bruins scored the final seven on kills by Kidder, Love and Lowe and four Gaucho attack errors to win it by eight. Love led the Bruins with seven kills, while Lowe added five, as the Bruins out-hit the Gauchos .353 to .000. Reeves added six digs.

The fourth set featured nine ties and three lead changes. Equal at nine, the Bruins scored three straight on an Aquino/Lowe combo block, an Aquino ace and a Gaucho attack error. UCSB came back to tie the score at 13, but the Bruins netted five of the next six to take an 18-14 edge. A Kidder kill and a Love solo block made it 15-13. After a UCSB sideout, a Love kill, a Reeves ace and another Gaucho attack error extended the advantage to four.

The Gauchos closed to within two, but would get no closer. Leading 21-18, the Bruins got an Aquino/Kidder combo block, a Lowe kill and a UCSB attack error to earn match point. The Gauchos stopped the first attempt, but another kill by Lowe closed out a 25-19 victory. Kidder, Lowe and Nightingale each had three kills to pace UCLA in the fourth, while Lowe also added five digs. The Bruins out-hit the Gauchos .243 to .073.

The Bruins travel to Honolulu for the Verizon Volleyball Challenge next weekend. UCLA takes on Idaho on Friday, San Diego State on Saturday and Hawai'i on Sunday. All match times are at 8 p.m. PT.

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