DENVER, Colo. - Junior Karsta Lowe led all players with 12 kills, committing only one error in 22 attempts for a .500 hitting percentage, while senior Kelly Reeves added eight kills, a .389 hitting clip and 13 digs, as the 11th-ranked Bruins swept Denver on Thursday at the Denver Invitational. Set scores were 25-20, 25-22, 25-18.
The Bruins improve to 6-1 on the year, while the Pioneers fall to 5-3.
UCLA hit .379 as a team, with freshman Jordan Robbins (25 assists) and junior Monica Stauber (15 assists) handling the setting duties. Senior Mariana Aquino had six kills and no miscues in 10 attempts for a .600 percentage, while junior Zoë Nightingale, redshirt freshman Haley Lawless and freshman Claire Felix each provided five kills. Nightingale added four blocks, while sophomore Karly Drolson had nine digs.
The Pioneers netted the first point of the match, but UCLA came back with the next three on two Lowe kills and one from Reeves to take a 3-1 edge and never trailed for the rest of the set. Denver tied things at three, four and five-all, but runs of 4-0, 8-1 and 10-2 broke things open. A Denver service error, a Lawless ace, a Pioneer attack error and a Felix kill made it 9-5 Bruins. After a sideout, two Denver attack errors and kills from Reeves and Felix made it 13-6. Following another sideout, a Denver service error and a kill by Nightingale put the visitors up by a set-best eight at 15-7.
A 6-0 Denver run cut the Bruins’ lead to a pair at 15-13, but the home team would get no closer. Up 19-16, three in a row on a Lawless kill, a bad Denver set and a Reeves kill put UCLA back up by a half dozen at 22-16. On the Bruins’ second set point, a Reeves kill, her team-best sixth of the set, clinched the 25-20 victory. Reeves also added seven digs, while Lawless posted five digs. Felix recorded three kills, as the Bruins out-hit the Pioneers .333 to .205.
Neither team led by more than four in the second set, which featured five ties and five lead changes. With UCLA up 8-7, a Reeves kill, a combo block by Felix and Nightingale and an Aquino ace made it 11-7. The Bruins were still up by two at 15-13, but a 3-0 Denver run put the home squad ahead 16-15. UCLA responded with a 3-0 run of its own on two Pioneer errors and a Nightingale kill to take an 18-16 edge, a lead it would not hand over for the rest of the set.
With the score 20-19, two Lawless kills and a Denver attack error put the Bruins up by four at 23-19. On UCLA’s third set point, a Stauber kill wrapped up a 25-22 victory. Lowe paced the Bruins with four kills, while Lawless added three. In a good hitting set for both teams, UCLA held a .483 to .382 advantage.
Denver had five different one-point leads in the third set, but a couple sustained Bruin runs finished off the sweep. With the Pioneers ahead 6-5, the Bruins scored four in a row on a kill and ace by Aquino and two Denver attack errors to go up 9-6. Tied at 10, UCLA scored seven straight to break it open. A Lowe kill, a combo block by Nightingale and sophomore Maddy Klineman, a Klineman kill and another Klineman/Nightingale roof made it 14-10. Two Denver attack errors and a Lowe kill later, the Bruins were up by seven.
The closest the Pioneers would get the rest of the way was four. With the score 22-18, a Lowe kill and a Reeves ace set up several match points and a Denver ball handling error finished a 25-18 victory. Lowe had six kills and no errors in nine swings in set three, while Aquino and Klineman recorded three kills apiece. The Bruins out-hit the Pioneers .333 to .121.
The Bruins continue play in Denver on Friday against Cal State Northridge at 3:30 p.m. PT. Links to live stats will be available on the women’s volleyball schedule page at UCLABruins.com.