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Olga Strantzali (far left) had 16 kills in her collegiate debut. (Photo credit Kate Lattman)
Bruins Make Quick Work of Binghamton in Season-Opening Win
By: UCLA Athletics
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LOS ANGELES - Freshman Olga Strantzali had an outstanding collegiate debut with 16 kills and no errors in 22 attempts for a .727 hitting percentage, as the Bruins swept Binghamton in a quick 73 minutes on Friday at the Concourse Hotel at LAX Classic at Loyola Marymount. Set scores were 25-10, 25-17, 25-9.

Another freshman, Reily Buechler, also had a stellar debut with 10 kills and seven digs. Senior Karsta Lowe had eight kills and hit .600 on 10 attempts in just two sets of action, while fellow senior and newcomer Julie Consani set the Bruins to a .375 hitting percentage on 26 assists. Also in her Bruin debut, sophomore Taylor Formico had 16 digs and two aces, while junior Rachel Inouye added six digs.

The Bruins scored the first two points on kills by senior Zoë Nightingale and Lowe, but the Bearcats came back with the next two. UCLA responded with eight in a row to take a 10-2 edge. The first half of the run came on two Binghamton errors, a Buechler kill and a Lowe ace. The next four points came on kills by Strantzali, Claire Felix and Lowe, and another Bearcat error.

A 7-2 Binghamton run cut the deficit to three at 12-9, but UCLA ran off a 13-1 run to end the opening set with a 25-10 win. Buechler and Lowe scored on nine of those 13 points, as Buechler had three kills and a set-ending ace, while Lowe posted three kills, a solo block and a combo roof with Nightingale. Their scoring and four Bearcat errors resulted in the 15-point victory. Lowe had six kills in the opener, while Buechler added four, as the Bruins out-hit the Bearcats .360 to -.133. Formico notched seven digs.

Binghamton had a few leads in the second set, but another late run gave UCLA the second. After six ties and the score equal at eight, runs of 6-0 and 8-1 put the Bruins up by seven. The first six points came on three Binghamton errors, two Formico aces and a Lowe kill. A sideout later, back-to-back Buechler kills made it 16-9.

The Bearcats closed to within three at 17-14, but three in a row on a Binghamton service error, a combo block by Felix and sophomore Izzy Carmona and a Felix kill made it 20-14. Up 20-16, the Bruins scored five of the last six on four Strantzali kills and a Buechler kill to win it 25-17. Strantzali had seven kills with no errors in nine swings in the second, while Buechler added three. The Bruins held a .303-.161 hitting advantage.

The Bruins led wire-to-wire in set three to finish off the sweep. A 7-1 run opened the set on three Strantzali kills, a pair from Buechler, an ace by junior Karly Drolson and a Binghamton attack error. The Bearcats got to within five at 10-5, but came no closer. Three more errors, an ace by Consani and a combo block by Carmona and sophomore Jennie Frager made it 15-5.

Leading 16-8, the Bruins ended the match with nine of the final 10 points. Strantzali had four of the points, including the match-clinching kill. Strantzali had another perfect hitting set with eight kills in 11 attempts, while Buechler added three kills. Formico recorded six digs in the third. The Bruins out-hit the Bearcats .500 to .000.

The Bruins have a doubleheader on Saturday, facing LIU Brooklyn at 11 a.m. and Loyola Marymount at 7:30 p.m. Free audio, free video and live stats will be available at

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