HONOLULU, Hawai’i - Junior Karsta Lowe had her fourth-straight, double-figure kills match to open the season, recording 19, while sophomore Karly Drolson totaled a career-high 17 digs, as the 10th-ranked Bruins survived a pair of set points in the fourth to defeat Santa Clara on Thursday at the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic. Set scores were 25-21, 25-12, 21-25, 27-25.
The Bruins improve to 4-0 on the season, while the Broncos fall to 2-2.
Junior setters Megan Moenoa and Monica Stauber split the quarterbacking duties, with Moenoa posting 24 assists, eight digs and two aces and Stauber recording 18 assists and seven digs. Senior Kelly Reeves tallied eight kills and seven digs, junior Zoë Nightingale added five kills and no errors in 12 attempts (.417) with six blocks and freshman Jessyka Ngauamo had five kills and four digs in her collegiate debut. Also making her collegiate debut was redshirt freshman Haley Lawless, who had eight digs and three blocks in three sets. The Bruins hit .267 for the match.
The first set featured 13 ties and eight lead changes. Sophomore Maddy Klineman was a part of four of the Bruins’ first six points on three kills and an ace, as UCLA took a 6-5 lead. After the Broncos scored the next two, back-to-back Santa Clara errors and a kill by freshman Claire Felix made it 9-7. With UCLA up 11-10, Santa Clara netted four straight to take a 14-11 edge, but the Bruins battled back with three in a row on a Bronco service error, a Lowe solo block and an SCU attack error to tie things at 14.
Santa Clara brought its lead back up to a pair at 18-16, but UCLA scored nine of the last 12 points of the opening set to take it 25-21. Kills by senior Mariana Aquino, Nightingale, Felix and Nightingale again put the Bruins on top 20-18. After a Santa Clara sideout, a Reeves kill, a Moenoa ace and a Bronco attack error stretched the Bruins’ lead to a set-best four at 23-19. A kill by Nightingale on the Bruins’ second set point gave them a 25-21 win. Klineman had four kills in the first, while Felix, Lowe and Nightingale added three apiece. UCLA out-hit Santa Clara .333 to .281.
After a close start to set two, the Bruins ran away with the second heading into intermission. Trailing 4-3, the Bruins scored nine unanswered points to go ahead 12-4. Aquino was a part of three of the first five points of the run on a kill and combo blocks with Felix and Klineman. Lowe also had a kill and Santa Clara made a hitting error. The Broncos then made three more errors and a Felix kill put the Bruins ahead by eight.
The lowest lead for the Bruins from that point on was seven. Leading 19-10, UCLA scored six of the last eight points to win the second by 13. The 6-2 run began with a Lawless kill, with the next four Bruin points coming on Santa Clara errors. A Reeves kill finished up a 25-12 victory. Lowe paced the Bruins with five kills in the second, Aquino added three blocks and Drolson had six digs. The Bruins hit .321 and held the Broncos to a -.079 percentage.
Set three had nine ties and four lead changes. With UCLA up 4-3, Santa Clara scored six of the next seven to go ahead by a set-best four at 9-5. Down 11-8, the Bruins went on a 5-1 run to re-take the lead 13-12. Kills by Ngauamo and Reeves made it 11-10 Santa Clara, and after a sideout, two kills by Lowe with an attack error in between put the Bruins up by one.
The Broncos scored the next three to go back up 15-13, and despite four more ties, never relinquished the lead for the rest of the set. With the score tied at 21, the Broncos scored the last four to win the third 25-21. Lowe led UCLA with five kills, while Reeves added three. The Bruins held the hitting advantage .162 to .152.
Five sideouts started the fourth set, which featured 10 ties, and with the Bruins down 3-2, they scored four straight on a Lowe kill, a combo block by Aquino and Lawless and back-to-back kills from Ngauamo to go ahead 6-3. Santa Clara came back with three in a row to equal things at six, and after the teams traded the next six points, a Bronco service error and a Lawless/Nightingale combo block made it 11-9 UCLA. Up 16-14, the Bruins scored three straight on a Ngauamo kill, a Nightingale/Reeves block and a Moenoa ace to take a set-best lead of five at 19-14.
The Broncos still had some fight in them though and came back with a 10-3 run to earn a pair of set points to force a fifth stanza. The Bruins saved both points on a Santa Clara service error and a Lawless solo block, which was followed by a Ngauamo kill to give the Bruins a match point. Santa Clara saved that attempt, but back-to-back kills by Aquino and Reeves wrapped up a 27-25 victory. Lowe led the Bruins with six kills, Ngauamo added four and Reeves had three. Lawless recorded three blocks and Drolson had five digs. The Bruins were out-hit in the set .341 to .275.
Next up for the Bruins is New Mexico State on Friday at 8 p.m. PT. Live stats will be available at UCLABruins.com.