LOS ANGELES - Junior Karsta Lowe led all players with 19 kills, senior Kelly Reeves recorded a double-double with 16 kills and 14 digs and freshman Claire Felix added 11 kills, but the Bruins fell in four to Utah on Friday at Pauley Pavilion. Set scores were 25-19, 16-25, 22-25, 23-25.
The Bruins (15-15, 6-14 Pac-12) hit .230 for the match. Junior Megan Moenoa had 53 assists and five digs and senior Mariana Aquino posted seven kills. Defensively, sophomores Karly Drolson and Rachel Inouye each had eight digs, while senior Madie Smith tallied five.
The Utes (20-12, 9-11 Pac-12) scored the first point of the match, but the Bruins came back with the next six on two Aquino aces, two kills by Reeves, one from Lowe and a Utah attack error to go up 6-1. UCLA’s biggest lead of the set was eight on four occasions at 13-5, 14-6, 15-7 and 24-16. At 15-7, Utah came back with a 6-1 run to cut its deficit to three at 16-13.
At 17-14, the Bruins got their lead back up to six following a Felix kill, a Utah attack error and a combo block by Aquino and sophomore Maddy Klineman. The lead reached eight again at 24-16 to give the Bruins eight set points. Utah saved the first three, but a service error on the fourth attempt wrapped up a 25-19 victory for UCLA. Reeves led the Bruins with five kills, Lowe added three and Felix posted three kills and no errors in five attempts. The Bruins out-hit the Utes .370 to .120.
The Bruins never led in dropping the second set. With the score 8-6, Utah scored seven of the next nine to go up 15-8. UCLA netted the next two on a Reeves kill and a Ute error, but Utah came back with four straight and six of the next seven to open up a double-digit lead for the first time at 21-11. Utah would go on to win the second 25-16. Lowe was 4-for-6 with no errors in the set, while Reeves had three kills, as the Bruins were out-hit .577 to .179.
The third set featured 10 ties and a pair of lead changes, with neither team leading by more than three. Utah raced out to a 5-2 lead and still led by three at 7-4 when the Bruins scored three straight on an Aquino kill and ace and a Lowe kill to even things at seven. The Utes again led by three at 11-8, but two Utah errors and an Aquino ace evened things at 11.
Trailing 13-12, the Bruins took their first lead of the set after a pair of Felix kills and a Utah attack error to make it 15-13. However, the Utes went on an 8-3 run to go back up 21-18. Kills by Reeves and Lowe got the Bruins to within one, but the home squad could not get any closer, as the Utes would win the third 25-22. Lowe had five kills to lead the Bruins in the third, Reeves added four and Aquino and Felix each posted three kills. The Bruins were out-hit .441 to .256.
Utah led wire-to-wire in the fourth to clinch the match. The Utes scored six of the first eight points of the set and maintained a lead between one and five for the rest of the fourth. Utah’s biggest lead was five at 21-16, but a Reeves kill, a Felix/Reeves combo block and a Ute attack error got the Bruins to within a pair at 21-19.
Down 23-20, the Bruins scored two in a row on kills by Felix and freshman Jessyka Ngauamo. Utah got the next point to earn a pair of match points, and a Ngauamo kill saved the first attempt, but the Utes scored the next one to take the set 25-23. Lowe had seven kills, Reeves posted four kills and eight digs and Felix and Ngauamo each added three kills in the fourth. Drolson recorded five digs, as the Bruins were out-hit .281 to .156.
The NCAA Selection Show airs on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. on ESPNU.