Sixth-Ranked Bruins Hit a Season-Best .411 in Sweep of Utah

Oct. 22, 2011

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LOS ANGELES - Junior Rachael Kidder had 23 kills and only two errors in 37 attempts for a career-best .568 hitting percentage, as the sixth-ranked Bruins swept Utah on Saturday at the John Wooden Center. Set scores were 25-12, 25-14, 27-25. Five Bruins had at least eight digs, led by 12 from senior Lainey Gera and 11 from sophomore Kelly Reeves.

The Bruins improve to 18-3 overall and 11-2 in Pac-12 play, while the Utes fall to 8-14 and 3-10 in league action.

Kidder added nine digs and three blocks to go with her 23 kills, while Reeves posted seven kills and only one error in 15 swings for a .400 hitting percentage. Senior Lauren Van Orden produced 36 assists and eight digs and junior Bojana Todorovic tallied nine digs. Junior Tabi Love notched seven kills, while freshman Zoë Nightingale added six with only one error in 11 attacks (.455) to go with three blocks. The Bruins hit a season-best .411 for the match.

The Utes held brief leads of 1-0 and 2-1 to start the match, but runs of 3-0 and 7-1 by the Bruins put them up 8-3. Two Utah attack errors and a Love kill put UCLA up 4-2, and after a Utah sideout, a Ute service error, kills by Love and Aquino and a Utah ball handling error made it a five-point lead. Utah came back with three of the next five to get to within four at 10-6, but seven in a row by UCLA put the set out of reach. Kidder had two kills and a solo block during the run, Nightingale added a kill and Utah committed three attack errors to make it 17-6.

UCLA's lead never dipped below double figures for the rest of the set, reaching as many as 13 on several occasions. On the Bruins' second set point, Kidder recorded her team-best seventh kill of the stanza to complete a 25-12 victory. Kidder had no errors in 11 attempts (.636), while the Bruins as a team had 16 kills and only one miscue in 29 swings for a .517 hitting percentage. Gera and Kidder both had five digs in the set, while Love and Nightingale each added three kills. The Utes hit .000 in the opener.

Utah grabbed an early 6-4 lead, but a 3-0 UCLA run on a kill by Love, a Ute attack error and a combo roof by Kidder and Nightingale made it 7-6. Utah sided out the next point, but a 6-1 Bruin run gave them the lead for good. Kills from Reeves and Nightingale made it 9-7, and after a Utah sideout, a Ute service error and three straight kills by Kidder put UCLA on top 13-8.

The Bruins held a 19-13 advantage and went on to score six of the last seven points to win the second 25-14. Two kills by Reeves, with a Utah attack error in between, made it 22-13. Following a Utah sideout, the Bruins tallied the last three points of the set, with two kills by Kidder and the clincher from Nightingale to record the 11-point win. Kidder had seven more kills in the second, while Nightingale and Reeves posted three apiece. The Bruins out-hit the Utes .545 to .231.

Utah led throughout most of the third, but the Bruins, whose biggest lead was just two in the set, came back to win and finish the sweep. Trailing by as many as five at 11-6 and 12-7, the Bruins slowly started to chip away thanks to a 4-0 run which saw Utah commit three errors and Gera serve an ace to make it 12-11. Utah got the lead back up to three at 15-12, but runs of 4-1 and 7-2 put UCLA on top 19-17. Kidder came through on five of the seven points on four kills, including three in a row at one point, and a combo roof with Nightingale.

Utah responded with a 4-1 run to go back in front at 21-20, but kills by Kidder and Love put the Bruins back up 22-21. The Utes struck back with two in a row to go ahead 23-22, but a kill by Love evened things at 23. Utah sided out to earn a set point, but a Ute service error and attack error made it 25-24 to give the Bruins their first match point. Utah stopped the first try to tie the score at 25, but a Kidder kill gave the Bruins a second match point and Nightingale and Reeves combined on a block to post a 27-25 victory. Kidder had nine kills and only one error in 17 swings (.471) in the third, while Nightingale added three kills. Reeves notched six digs and Gera added five, as the Bruins were out-hit by the Utes .289 to .273.

The Bruins travel to the Bay Area to face a pair of Top 10 teams next weekend, facing California on Friday, Oct. 28 and Stanford on Oct. 29. Both matches start at 7 p.m.

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