BERKELEY, Calif. - Senior Kelly Reeves was the first Bruin to record a 20-20 match in six years, while sophomore Karly Drolson became the first Bruin to surpass the 30-dig plateau since 2010, but UCLA dropped a tough five-set decision at #22 California on Sunday at Haas Pavilion.
Reeves tied a career high with 21 kills and established a new personal best with 22 digs to record the 39th, 20-20 match in UCLA history and the first since Ali Daley accomplished the feat in 2007. Drolson set a new career best with 32 digs, the 21st time a Bruin has reached 30 digs and the first since Lainey Gera in 2010.
Junior Megan Moenoa had a double-double with a career-high 68 assists to go with 13 digs, while senior Karsta Lowe had a personal-best 25 kills, adding five digs and four blocks. Sophomore Maddy Klineman had 15 kills, five digs and a personal-best six blocks, junior Zoë Nightingale posted seven kills and seven blocks and senior Mariana Aquino notched nine kills. In the backcourt, sophomore Rachel Inouye tallied a career-high 13 digs, while senior Madie Smith added nine digs. The Bruins hit .244 for the match.
Despite six ties in the opening set, the Bruins led wire-to-wire to take the first. UCLA scored the first three points of the match on two Aquino kills and a Reeves ace, but California got the next three. Ten sideouts later, a Reeves kill, a Cal attack error and a Klineman/Aquino combo block put the Bruins up for good at 11-8. Leading 13-11, the Bruins scored four straight on consecutive Lowe kills and kills from Klineman and Nightingale to make it 17-11.
With the score 19-14, UCLA scored five of the next six to take a set-best lead of nine at 24-15. Lowe was a part of four of the five points on three kills and a solo block, while Reeves also added a kill. On the Bruins’ third set point, a Klineman kill wrapped up a 25-17 victory. Lowe paced the Bruins with seven kills in the opener, committing just one error in 15 attempts (.400). Neither Bruin middle had a hitting error, as Nightingale went 4-for-5 (.800) and Aquino was 3-for-8 (.375). Defensively, Drolson had nine digs, Inouye posted six and Reeves recorded five. The Bruins out-hit the Bears .333 to .149.
Set two featured 16 ties and seven lead changes. Cal finally took its first lead of the match at 6-5, but a 6-1 Bruin run on three Reeves kills, kills by Lowe and Klineman and a Cal attack error put the visitors on top 11-7. The Bears stormed back to tie things up at 12-all and finally re-took the lead at 15-14, however a Reeves kill and a Cal attack error put the Bruins back ahead 16-15. The Bears went ahead again at 20-18, but two sideouts later, a Lowe kill and consecutive Bruin blocks put UCLA back up. The first roof was by Moenoa and Nightingale, who teamed up with Klineman on the second block to make it a 22-21 lead for the Bruins.
The next four points were sided out, with the last being a Moenoa kill to give the Bruins a set point. However, Cal scored the last three points of the second to win it 26-24 and even the match. Lowe again paced the Bruins with six kills, while Klineman and Reeves added five apiece. Reeves also had five digs, as the Bruins still out-hit the Golden Bears .205 to .200.
Neither team led by more than three points in set three, which featured 11 ties and five lead changes. Trailing 3-2, the Bruins scored four straight on a Cal service error and successive kills from Klineman, Nightingale and Moenoa to take a 6-3 edge. The Bears would tie things up at 10, but an Aquino kill and ace followed by a Nightingale/Klineman combo block put the Bruins ahead by three at 13-10. Cal responded with a 9-3 run to take its set-best edge of three at 19-16.
With the Bears still up 21-18, a Cal attack error, a Lowe/Nightingale combo block and a Lowe kill evened things at 21. Cal scored next, but Lowe and Klineman kills gave UCLA a 23-22 edge. After another Cal sideout, a Lowe kill gave the Bruins a set point, but the Bears netted the last three points of the set to win the third 26-24. Reeves had five kills and five digs in the third, Lowe added four kills and Klineman recorded three kills. Drolson had eight digs, as the Bears out-hit the Bruins .279 to .217.
Set four was another close one at the outset with seven ties and four lead changes until UCLA pulled away late. Trailing 7-6, the Bruins went on a 5-1 run on three straight Reeves kills, a Cal attack error and a Lowe kill to put the visitors ahead 11-8. The closest the Bears would get for the rest of the set was one at 11-10.
With the score 18-16, the Bruins closed out the fourth on a 7-2 run to force a fifth set. Kills by Aquino and Reeves, a Lowe solo block and Lowe and Reeves kills made it 23-16. The teams sided out the last four points, as a Cal service error on the Bruins’ second set point closed out a 25-18 victory. Reeves had six kills in the fourth, Lowe was 4-for-9 (.444) on kills with no errors and Aquino was 4-for-5 (.800). Drolson added six digs, as the Bruins out-hit the Bears .343 to .125.
UCLA held an early 2-1 lead in set five, but Cal rallied right back with the next two. The Bears led 7-5 when the Bruins scored four of five on two Reeves kills, a Lowe kill and a Cal attack error to go ahead 9-8. However, the Golden Bears recorded the next five to take a 13-9 edge, as Cal went on to win the fifth 15-12. Lowe had four kills in the fifth, Klineman and Reeves each posted three and Drolson added six digs. The Bruins were out-hit .200 to .097.
The Bruins are at home next weekend, hosting Oregon State on Friday at the John Wooden Center at 6 p.m. before entertaining Oregon on Sunday at Pauley Pavilion at 1 p.m.