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The Bruins went 2-1 this weekend. (Photo by Kate Lattman, Camera from Virginia Pham)
Bruins Fall in Three at Loyola Marymount
By: UCLA Athletics

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LOS ANGELES - Senior Karsta Lowe had 24 kills, eight in each of the three sets Saturday night, but the Bruins were upset by Loyola Marymount in the final match of the Concourse Hotel at LAX Classic. Set scores were 25-19, 25-22, 25-23.

Lowe hit .439 for the match, adding four blocks, three digs and an ace, but the Bruins (2-1) hit just .202 as a team. Senior Julie Consani had 40 assists and eight digs, freshman Olga Strantzali recorded nine kills, sophomore Claire Felix added seven kills and freshman Reily Buechler posted five kills and six digs. Defensively, sophomore Taylor Formico had 13 digs, senior Zoë Nightingale tallied six blocks and sophomore Rachel Inouye added five digs.

The first set was back and forth with seven ties and five lead changes. UCLA’s biggest lead of the set was two after scoring the first two points of the match, but LMU came back with a 6-2 run to go up 6-4. Equal at nine, a 5-1 Lion run put the home team up 14-10.

Trailing 17-14, a Lowe kill and ace cut the deficit to one at 17-16, but Loyola Marymount closed the set on an 8-3 run to win the opener 25-19. Lowe’s eight kills paced the Bruins, who were out-hit .276 to .258, while Felix and Strantzali each added three kills.

Like set one, UCLA’s largest lead in the second was a pair at 4-2 after two kills apiece from Lowe and Strantzali. But four in a row for the Lions gave them a 6-4 lead, an advantage they would not relinquish for the rest of the set.

With LMU leading by a set-best five at 24-19, two kills by Lowe, with a Felix kill in between, made it 24-22, but the Lions got the next point to win it 25-22. Along with Lowe’s eight kills, Buechler added four and Felix posted three, as the Bruins were out-hit .303 to .186. Formico had five digs.

To keep with the theme, the Bruins’ largest lead in set three was two at 3-1. A 10-4 LMU run gave the home team an 11-7 edge for its biggest advantage of the set. Down 16-14, the Bruins ran off four of the next five on kills by Buechler and Lowe, as well as a kill and solo block by Nightingale, to go ahead 18-17.

UCLA still led 20-19, but surrendered the next three to trail 22-20. The teams sided out the final six points, as the Lions won 25-23 in the third. Lowe’s eight kills were supplemented by four from Strantzali. The Bruins won the hitting battle in the third .175 to .171. Formico added six digs, while Nightingale had four blocks.

The Bruins head north next weekend to the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge at Stanford’s Maples Pavilion. UCLA takes on #11 Illinois on Friday, Sept. 5 at 8 p.m. in a contest that will be televised live on Pac-12 Networks. It will be a rematch of the 2011 National Championship in which the Bruins won in four sets. On Saturday, Sept. 6 at 5 p.m., the Bruins face top-ranked and defending national champion Penn State.

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