Eighth-Ranked Bruins Knock Off #5 Nebraska in Five-Set Thriller
Sept. 13, 2009
LINCOLN, Neb. - In front of an NCAA regular season-record crowd of 13,780, mostly wearing red in support of the hometown fifth-ranked Huskers, the eighth-ranked UCLA Bruins snapped Nebraska's 90-match home winning streak in a five-set victory on Sunday at the Ameritas Players Challenge. Set scores were 18-25, 25-17, 25-22, 24-26, 15-7.
The Bruins win their sixth in a row to improve to 8-1, while the Huskers fall to 7-2. Freshman Lauren Cook was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player and was joined on the All-Tournament Team by senior Kaitlin Sather and sophomore Lainey Gera.
Junior Dicey McGraw tied a career high with 18 kills to pace the Bruins, adding six digs and three service aces. Cook had her third straight double-double with 48 assists and 15 digs, as did Sather, who posted 13 kills and 16 digs. Sophomore Amanda Gil added 10 kills and seven digs, while freshman Bojana Todorovic had 10 kills and nine digs. Gera recorded a career-best 25 digs, while sophomore Katie Camp had eight kills and five blocks. The Bruins hit .213 as a team.
The Bruins came out flat in the first set and fell behind early as the Huskers won the opener. UCLA scored the first point on a kill by freshman Mari Hole, but Nebraska netted the next six to go up by five. The Huskers extended their lead to as many as nine at 13-4 before the Bruins made a run. UCLA scored six straight to cut its deficit to three at 13-10. Sather, Hole and Camp had kills during the run, McGraw posted an ace and the Huskers had two errors.
UCLA got as close as a pair at 15-13 and 16-14, but Nebraska slowly pulled away and won it 25-18. Leading 20-17, the Huskers scored five of the last to take the set by seven. A service error on Nebraska's second set point gave the home team the opening win. Hole and Sather each had three kills in the first, while Camp added two. The Bruins were out-hit in the first .276 to .069.
The Bruins came out strong to open the second, scoring the first four points on a pair of kills by McGraw, a Gera ace and a Nebraska error. UCLA maintained its lead at 8-5 until a 5-1 Husker run gave the home team a 10-9 advantage. Nebraska was still on top 12-11 before the Bruins turned it on, scoring 13 of the set's last 19 points to win it 25-17.
Down 12-11, the Bruins went on a 6-1 mini-run to go ahead 17-13. Gil had three of the six points on kills, while McGraw had an ace. Still leading by four at 20-16, the Bruins scored five of the last six points to take the set by eight. Sather opened the run with a kill, which was followed by successive spikes by McGraw and a Camp/Sather combo block. A Nebraska sideout later, Sather ended things with a kill on the Bruins' second set point. Gil had six kills in the second, while McGraw posted five. The Bruins out-hit the Huskers .297 to .128.
The third set was close throughout with nine ties and four lead changes, but a late run by the Bruins gave them a 2-1 lead in the match. Nebraska had an early 6-4 advantage, but UCLA scored four of the next five to go up 8-7. Cook and Todorovic had kills, while Camp and McGraw teamed up for a block. Nebraska came back though with an 8-4 run to take a 15-12 lead, but the Bruins rebounded to take the set.
UCLA rallied with five of the next six on two kills by McGraw, one apiece by Camp and Sather and a Nebraska attack error to take a 17-16 lead. The Huskers tied it up at 17, but a 4-0 run gave the Bruins some breathing room. After two errors, Sather and McGraw had kills to make it 21-17. The Huskers got no closer than two the rest of the way, as a Todorovic kill on the Bruins' second set point gave them the 25-22 win. McGraw had seven kills in the third, while Sather added three. In a good hitting set for both teams, the Bruins won the battle .310 to .289.
The Huskers held an early 7-5 lead in the fourth, but a 5-1 run gave the Bruins a 10-8 advantage. Sather had three kills during the spurt, while McGraw added two. The Bruins still led 15-14, but following a media timeout, the Huskers scored seven in a row to go ahead 21-15. The Bruins didn't quit though and scored eight of the next 10 to tie the set at 23. McGraw, Sather and Gil had successive kills to make it 21-18. A sideout later, the Huskers served an error and Cook had a kill to get the Bruins to within two at 22-20. Following another sideout by Nebraska, the Huskers made an attack error, McGraw served an ace and a combo block by Gil and freshman Rachael Kidder evened things at 23.
Hannah Werth scored a kill for the Huskers to give them their first set point, but an attack error by Nebraska knotted the score at 24. Another Werth kill gave the Huskers their second set point and a UCLA attack error forced the thrilling match to a fifth set. Sather had four kills in the fourth, while McGraw added three. The Huskers out-hit the Bruins .140 to .047.
The Huskers scored two of the first three points of the fifth, but the Bruins rallied with four straight and seven of the next eight to take an 8-3 advantage. Gil and McGraw opened the run with a kill and then teamed up for a block. After a Nebraska attack error and a sideout, successive kills by Sather, Camp and Todorovic put UCLA up by five.
Nebraska closed to within three at 8-5, but UCLA scored seven of the last nine points of the match to win the decider 15-7. Camp had two kills and a block during the final run, as a Todorovic kill on match point gave the Bruins the victory. Camp and Todorovic each had three kills in the fifth, as the Bruins out-hit the Huskers .391 to .042.
Tara Mueller (17), Werth (14) and Brooke Delano (10) all had double figures in kills for the Huskers, who hit .179 as a team.
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