It's a Love Story for #3 UCLA in Four-Set Win at #9 Hawai'i
HONOLULU, Hawai'i - Senior Tabi Love had a career-high 26 kills and was named the Verizon Volleyball Challenge Most Outstanding Player, while senior Rachael Kidder added a double-double with 16 kills and 12 digs, as the third-ranked Bruins defeated #9 Hawai'i in four sets on Sunday. Set scores were 28-30, 25-16, 25-17, 25-21.
The Bruins improve to 6-1 with the victory, while the Rainbow Wahine fall to 7-2.
Love hit .346 in the match and added five blocks. She recorded 42 kills and hit .400 on the weekend. Kidder's double-double was her second of the season and 12th of her career. She, Love and sophomore Karsta Lowe, who had nine kills and hit .412 on Sunday, were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Defensively, senior Bojana Todorovic had 20 digs, while junior Kelly Reeves added 13. Sophomore Megan Moenoa nearly had a double-double with 44 assists (career high) and nine digs (tied career high) to go with a personal-best six blocks. At the net, sophomore Zoë Nightingale tallied seven blocks, while junior Mariana Aquino produced six. The Bruins hit .295 as a team.
It appeared the Rainbow Wahine would run away with the opening set, but the Bruins stormed back and had two set points before ultimately falling 30-28. Hawai'i scored seven of the first eight points and held a set-best, nine-point lead at 17-8. But that is when UCLA made its comeback, as the visitors scored eight in a row to cut its deficit to one at 17-16. Love had four kills during the run, Reeves added a kill, Todorovic served an ace, Aquino and Moenoa teamed up for a block and Hawai'i committed a ball handling error for the eight UCLA points.
Hawai'i scored the next two to go back up by three, but a 3-0 UCLA run on a Reeves kill and two UH errors tied things at 19. After a Rainbow Wahine sideout, a Love kill and a UH attack error gave the Bruins their first lead of the set at 21-20. The next three points went to Hawai'i, but UCLA netted the following pair on a Lowe kill and a Lowe/Nightingale combo block to tie it at 23. A Hawai'i sideout gave the home team a set point, but a kill by Lowe and a triple block from Kidder, Moenoa and Nightingale put the Bruins on the brink with a 25-24 edge.
UCLA had two set points at 25-24 and 26-25, but committed service errors both times. The score was tied again at 27 and 28-all when Hawai'i recorded the last two points of the opener to take it 30-28. Love led the Bruins with six kills, Kidder added four and Lowe notched three in the first set. Todorovic posted seven digs for the Bruins, who were out-hit .213 to .205.
Despite dropping the opener, it appeared the Bruins had the momentum on their side and they never trailed in the second set. UCLA started the set with a 6-2 run on kills by Kidder and Love, an Aquino ace and three Hawai'i errors. The Rainbow Wahine came back with the next two, but an 8-1 Bruin run broke it open and put them up by a set-best nine at 14-5. A Love kill, an Aquino/Love combo block, a Hawai'i attack error, another Love kill and an Aquino/Moenoa roof put UCLA up 11-4. After a UH sideout, a Rainbow Wahine attack error and a solo block and kill from Love made it 14-5.
The Bruins' lead never dipped below six for the rest of the set. Leading 23-16, UCLA had kills from Aquino and Lowe to finish off a 25-16 victory. Love posted five kills in the second set to lead UCLA, while Lowe added three. Kidder provided just one kill, but had seven digs, as the Bruins out-hit the Rainbow Wahine .370 to .103.
Hawai'i had an early 4-2 lead in the third set, but Kidder went on a personal 5-0 run on five kills to put the Bruins up 7-4. UCLA would not trail for the rest of the set. Up 9-6, the Bruins posted a 5-1 run on two kills by Love, a kill and an ace from Moenoa and a UH service error to make it 14-7. The Rainbow Wahine would cut their deficit to four at 14-10 and 15-11, but got no closer.
A kill by Lowe, a Lowe/Nightingale combo block and a Kidder kill put the Bruins up 18-11. The UCLA advantage stayed between five and eight for the rest of the set, as a Love kill, her team-best seventh of the third, clinched a 25-17 victory. Kidder added five kills, while Todorovic added five digs, as the Bruins out-hit the Rainbow Wahine .342 to .121.
The fourth set featured another wire-to-wire victory for the Bruins. UCLA scored the first four and 10 of the first 13 to jump out in front. Love was a part of six of the 10 points on four kills and two combo blocks. Hawai'i trimmed its deficit to three at 10-7 following a 4-0 run, but the home squad would get no closer than that the rest of the way.
With the score 13-10, a 4-1 UCLA run made it 17-11, as Love had two kills, Kidder served an ace and teamed up with Nightingale for a block. Again with the difference at three at 20-17, UCLA scored three in a row on two kills by Kidder and a Moenoa/Nightingale block to make it 23-17. A Hawai'i service error on UCLA's third match point closed out a 25-21 victory. Love had eight kills in the fourth, while Kidder added five. Todorovic had six digs in the set, while Reeves added five, as the Bruins out-hit the Rainbow Wahine .297 to .220.
The Bruins return home and will entertain 12th-ranked Pepperdine on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the John Wooden Center. The match will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Networks.
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