Friday, Aug. 29
RV UCLA vs. Binghamton
LMU's Gersten Pavilion
Online: Free Audio, Free Video, Live Stats
Saturday, Aug. 30
RV UCLA vs. LIU Brooklyn
LMU's Gersten Pavilion
Online: Free Audio, Free Video, Live Stats
BRUINS OPEN 2014 SEASON AT LMU
For the second straight year, the Bruins begin their season at Loyola Marymount at the Concourse Hotel at LAX Classic. UCLA plays three times in two days, opening against Binghamton on Friday at 4 p.m. On Saturday, the Bruins play twice, taking on LIU Brooklyn (11 a.m.) and LMU (7:30 p.m.).
BRUINS ON THE NET
Free audio (with Darren Preston at the call), free video (courtesy of LMU) and live stats will be available for this weekend’s matches on UCLABruins.com. Links will be available on the women’s volleyball schedule page.
The Bruins participate in the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge next weekend at Stanford’s Maples Pavilion. UCLA takes on 11th-ranked Illinois on Friday, Sept. 5 at 8 p.m. in a rematch of the 2011 National Championship contest, which the Bruins won in four sets. The UCLA-Illinois match will air live on Pac-12 Networks. On Saturday, Sept. 6, the Bruins face off with top-ranked and defending national champion Penn State at 5 p.m.
BRUINS IN THE POLLS
The Bruins received the 36th-most points (23) in the AVCA Preseason Coaches poll, one of nine Pac-12 teams to earn votes in the initial rankings (Stanford, Washington, USC, Arizona State, Oregon, California, Arizona and Colorado). Three other UCLA opponents this season, #1 Penn State, #11 Illinois and #17 Hawai’i, are also nationally ranked. The Volleyball Magazine rankings have yet to be announced.
NEWS AND NOTES
The Bruins have won 44 straight matches when hitting .300 or better, including six times last season ... UCLA is four wins away from 1,200 for the program’s history ... head coach Michael Sealy enters the season 10 wins away from 100 for his career.
UCLA, USC SWITCH HOME MATCHES ON 2014 SCHEDULE
The home matches for this season’s UCLA-USC rivalry have switched, with the September tilt now being played at Galen Center and the November contest taking place at Pauley Pavilion.
Originally, the Bruins were scheduled to host the Trojans on Tuesday, Sept. 23 at Pauley Pavilion and travel across town on Friday, Nov. 28.
Due to the Sunset Blvd. water main break on July 29, which caused flood damage to UCLA volleyball’s two home venues, Pauley Pavilion and the John Wooden Center, the Bruins and the Trojans will switch home dates.
The Sept. 23 match at Galen will be televised live on Pac-12 Networks at 8 p.m., while the Nov. 28 contest at Pauley will air live on ESPNU at 8:30 p.m.
A decision as to the sites, as well as any potential dates and time changes, for the remaining nine UCLA home matches on the 2014 slate will be announced shortly.
SCOUTING THE BINGHAMTON BEARCATS
Binghamton returns 10 letterwinners and five starters from a 2013 team which went 9-19 and placed fifth in the America East Conference with a 7-7 record. Sophomore outside hitter Allison Hovie averaged 2.62 kills per set and 1.89 digs per set last year, adding 26 aces, while senior setter Amanda Dettman quarterbacks the offense after posting 9.26 assists per set, 2.01 dps and 38 aces in 2013. Glenn Kiriyama is in his 16th year as Binghamton’s head coach and has a record of 232-230. Friday’s matchup will be the first between the Bruins and the Bearcats.
SCOUTING THE LIU BROOKLYN BLACKBIRDS
LIU Brooklyn brings back 11 letterwinners and six starters from last year’s squad which went 23-8 and posted an undefeated 14-0 record in the Northeast Conference. The Blackbirds advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament a year ago, falling to Penn State. Senior outside hitter Annika Foit is the top returning hitter at 4.17 kills per set, adding 2.63 digs per set and 27 aces last season. At the setter position, senior Vera Djuric had 10.39 assists per set, 2.30 dps and 22 aces in 2013. Kyle Robinson is in his seventh season at the helm of LIU Brooklyn and has a record of 119-76. The Bruins have won both matchups against LIU Brooklyn, including a 3-0 sweep (25-13, 25-15, 25-12) at Pauley Pavilion on Nov. 30, 2012 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. UCLA also claimed a sweep on Sept. 16, 2006 in College Park, Md. (30-22, 30-23, 30-23).
SCOUTING THE LOYOLA MARYMOUNT LIONS
Loyola Marymount returns nine letterwinners and three starters from a 2013 team which went 14-14 and finished sixth in the West Coast Conference with an 8-10 mark. Senior middle blocker Litara Keil is the top returner after averaging 3.50 kills per set to go with 0.76 blocks per set and 16 aces. Junior setter Hannah Tedrow posted 9.56 assists per set a season ago with 1.32 dps and 19 aces. Tom Black is in his fifth season as LMU’s head coach and has a record of 61-58. In nine years as a head coach, he has a 176-87 mark.
THE MATCHUP: BRUINS VS. LIONS
UCLA has won seven straight against Loyola Marymount to increase its series advantage to 10-1. Last year on Aug. 31, the Bruins posted a four-set win (14-25, 25-16, 25-18, 25-23). Karsta Lowe led the Bruins with 23 kills on a .514 hitting percentage to go with four blocks, while Megan Moenoa recorded 32 assists. With last year’s victory, the Bruins are 5-0 all-time at Gersten Pavilion. The Lions’ lone win against UCLA was a five-set victory in the first round of the 1986 NCAA Tournament at the John Wooden Center.
For the second straight season, the UCLA offense will run through Karsta Lowe. The senior came off a junior campaign in which she was named an AVCA Honorable Mention All-America, AVCA All-Pacific South Region First Team and All-Pac-12 First Team. Lowe led the Bruins a season ago in kills (4.31) and points (4.68) per set, ranking second among hitters with a .290 percentage. Lowe ended the season with double figures in kills in 24 in a row, posting at least 10 in 29 of 30 matches. She surpassed the 20-kill mark eight times and hit at least .400 on seven occasions.
A pair of third-year players return on the outside in junior Maddy Klineman and redshirt sophomore Haley Lawless. Klineman played in all 30 matches, making 18 starts in 2013, and was third on the team with 2.16 kps. She added nine aces, 1.16 digs and 2.52 points per set. Klineman registered eight double-figure kills matches, including a season-best 19 against Creighton on Sept. 14.
Lawless looks to have her third season with the Bruins be the charm as far as the injury bug goes. After redshirting in 2012 (right shoulder), she played in 13 matches (nine starts) last season before suffering a season-ending left ACL injury at Arizona State on Oct. 20. In her baker’s dozen contests, she averaged 1.78 kills and 0.53 blocks per set, ranking third on the team with 1.83 dps. Her highest kill total was on Oct. 11 at Oregon when she had 10.
Sophomores Claire Felix and Jessyka Ngauamo are back in their second season at UCLA. Felix, who may also see time in the middle, was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team a year ago. She played in 26 matches, starting the last three of the season, averaging 1.74 kills and 0.47 blocks per set. Felix had a career day on Oct. 12 at Oregon State, notching 14 kills and just one error in 22 attempts for a .591 hitting percentage.
Ngauamo played in 13 matches and 31 sets in her first season away from Australia, making three starts. She had 16 kills and 43 digs (1.39 per set). Ngauamo had a career-best 13 digs against Oregon on Nov. 10, adding a season-high five kills versus Santa Clara (Sept. 5).
One transfer and two freshmen will add to the Bruins’ depth on the outside this season. Sophomore Izzy Carmona averaged 1.98 kills and 2.42 points per set during her freshman season at Florida State in 2013. She played in 30 matches and posted a .273 hitting percentage with 0.84 blocks per set, adding seven double-figure kills matches for the Seminoles.
Freshman Reily Buechler enters her first season in Westwood after four years of varsity volleyball at Torrey Pines High School. She was named the San Diego CIF Player of the Year and received First Team All-San Diego County accolades in both 2012 and 2013, posting 345 kills, 171 digs and 20 aces as a senior.
Freshman Olga Strantzali comes to UCLA from Pylaia, Thessaloniki, Greece. She prepped at Hellenic College of Thessaloniki, winning three National School Championships and tallying 263 kills, 57 aces and 330 points as a senior. Strantzali was also a standout on the Greek National Team.
A pair of Bruins return in the middle in senior Zoë Nightingale and sophomore Jennie Frager. Nightingale appeared in all 30 matches a year ago and led the team with 1.09 blocks per set to go with 1.12 kills per set. After earning All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention accolades as a sophomore, Nightingale had nine matches with at least five blocks in 2013, including a season-best nine at Colorado (Sept. 27) and Oregon State (Oct. 12).
Frager appeared in just six matches and 11 sets a season ago, recording five kills and 10 blocks. Her best offensive match came at Long Beach State on Sept. 18 when she had a pair of kills, while her best defensive contest was a four-block match against CSUN on Sept. 13.
Two returners and two transfers highlight the UCLA setting position. Senior Megan Moenoa averaged a team-best 9.21 assists per set in 24 matches in 2013, ranking ninth among Pac-12 setters. She recorded 1.77 digs and 0.35 blocks per set to go with 13 aces. Moenoa had four double-doubles, posting a career-best 68 assists and a season-high 13 digs at California on Nov. 3.
Sophomore Jordan Robbins appeared in 13 matches, making eight starts a year ago, averaging 5.26 assists per set, 1.44 digs per set and three aces. She posted a pair of double-doubles, with 28 assists and 13 digs at Long Beach State (Sept. 18) and 21 assists and 12 digs at Colorado (Sept. 27), registering a season-high 35 assists against CSUN on Sept. 13.
Senior Julie Consani comes to UCLA for her senior season after spending the last three at Cal State Fullerton, where she ranks sixth in school history in assists. Consani started all 28 matches in 2013, leading the Titans with 11.08 assists per set, which ranked 32nd in the nation.
Junior Michaela Leonard was a two-year setter at San Jose State, ranking seventh on the school list in assists with 2,494. Leonard started 60 of the 61 matches she appeared in during the last two seasons, averaging 11.06 assists, 1.88 digs and 0.47 blocks per set as a sophomore for the Spartans.
In the backcourt, the Bruins have two returners and two newcomers named Taylor. Junior Karly Drolson was the primary libero last season, averaging a team-best 3.58 digs per set to go with 14 aces, which was third on the team. Ranking 10th among Pac-12 players in dps, Drolson had 18 double-figure digs contests, reaching at least 20 six times and posting a career-high 32 at California on Nov. 3.
Fellow junior Rachel Inouye played in 20 matches and 52 sets in 2013, producing 1.75 digs per set and four aces. She set career highs in digs in consecutive matches, posting 12 at Stanford on Nov. 1 and 13 with an ace at California on Nov. 3.
Sophomore Taylor Formico sat out last season after spending her freshman campaign at UC Santa Barbara. In 2012, she was named AVCA All-America Honorable Mention, AVCA West Region Freshman of the Year and Big West FOY, leading the nation with 792 digs, averaging 5.87 per set, which was first in the conference and eighth in the country.
Fellow Taylor, Taylor Schlener, was a three-sport athlete at Yorba Linda High School, playing four years of libero, three years of basketball and two years of track. Schlener recorded 582 digs as a senior, earning First Team All-Empire League honors and league MVP accolades.