Sixth-Ranked Bruins Prevail Over Colorado
Oct. 21, 2011
LOS ANGELES - Colorado put sixth-ranked UCLA to the test on Friday night at the John Wooden Center, but the Bruins held on for a four-set victory. Set scores were 25-17, 25-15, 19-25, 25-23. Junior Rachael Kidder had a double-double with 13 kills and 12 digs, while senior Lainey Gera added 16 digs.
The Bruins improve to 17-3 overall and 10-2 in Pac-12 action, while the Buffaloes fall to 5-15 and 0-12 in league play.
Senior Lauren Van Orden and freshman Megan Moenoa each saw time at setter, recording 23 and 15 assists, respectively, with Van Orden adding eight digs. Sophomore Kelly Reeves notched 12 digs and five kills, while junior Bojana Todorovic posted eight. Freshman Zoë Nightingale had eight kills and six blocks and sophomore Mariana Aquino tallied seven kills and only one error in 12 attacks for a .500 hitting percentage. Also chipping in on offense were freshmen Priscilla Duke-Ezeji and Karsta Lowe, who had nine and five kills, respectively. The Bruins hit .127 for the match.
The Bruins had runs of 2-0, 6-1 and 10-3 to start the match to win the opener wire-to-wire. A Kidder kill and a Nightingale/Reeves combo block got things going, and after a Colorado sideout, a spike by Reeves, two in a row from Nightingale and a roof by Nightingale and Van Orden made it 6-1. The Buffaloes netted two of the next three, but a 3-0 UCLA run on a combo roof by Nightingale and Duke-Ezeji and two kills in a row by Kidder put the home squad up by seven at 10-3.
UCLA's lead remained between five and seven until the Buffs went on a 5-1 run to cut their deficit to three at 15-12. But a 5-0 UCLA run on a kill by Duke-Ezeji and four Colorado errors put things back out of reach at 20-12. The Bruins' advantage stayed between six and eight for the rest of the set, as a Colorado service error completed a 25-17 victory. Kidder led the Bruins with four kills, while Nightingale added three kills and four blocks. Reeves added six kills, as UCLA out-hit Colorado .111 to .000.
The Bruins had an early 4-2 lead in the second set, but a 3-0 Colorado run gave the visitors its first advantage of the match at 5-4. However, runs of 4-0 and 12-1 would end the Buffaloes' reign at the top and the Bruins' rout was on. Kills by Kidder and Nightingale, a CU attack error and an ace from Kidder made it 8-5. After a sideout by the Buffaloes, the Bruins' 8-0 run began with kills by Kidder and Aquino and back-to-back Colorado attack errors to make it 12-6. A Gera ace, a Van Orden spike, a Duke-Ezeji solo stuff and an Aquino kill extended the advantage to double digits at 16-6.
Thanks to a 6-2 run, the Buffaloes roamed to within six at 18-12, but the Bruins' lead would never dip below a half dozen for the rest of the set. After a Nightingale kill gave UCLA set point, a combo roof by Duke-Ezeji and freshman Olivia Okoro finished off a 25-15 victory. Kidder and Nightingale each had four kills in the second, as the Bruins out-hit the Buffaloes .273 to -.036.
Colorado never trailed in the third to record its first-ever set victory in a Pac-12 match. The Buffs had a set-best lead of six on several occasions, jumping out to a 12-6 advantage. The Bruins scored more than two in a row just once during the set. Down 15-9, two kills by Moenoa and a Colorado attack error made it 15-12. But the three-point margin was as close as UCLA got for the rest of the set, as Colorado won it 25-19. Duke-Ezeji and Kidder each had four kills in the third, as the Buffaloes out-hit the Bruins .188 to .071.
It appeared that the match was headed to a fifth set, as Colorado led most of the way until UCLA snuck it out at the end. The Bruins were never down by more than three, but couldn't grab their first lead until midway through the set. Down 12-9, a 5-0 UCLA run put the home team up 14-12. Duke-Ezeji had two kills during the run, Aquino added another and Colorado committed two attack errors. The Buffs rallied with six of eight to go back in front 18-16. The Bruins tied it at 18 and 19-all, but a 3-0 spurt by the visitors put Colorado ahead by three at 22-19.
UCLA responded with the next four to go back in front. A kill by Aquino, an Aquino/Reeves combo block and a Kidder spike tied things at 22, which was followed by a Reeves kill to put the Bruins on top 23-22. A Colorado sideout tied things at 23, but an Aquino kill gave the Bruins match point and Reeves finished it off with a kill to post a 25-23 victory. Aquino, Duke-Ezeji and junior Tabi Love each had three kills in the fourth. Todorovic had six digs and Gera added five, as the Bruins were out-hit .102 to .087.
The Bruins finish their homestand on Saturday against Utah at 7 p.m. Gametracker and free audio and video will be available at UCLABruins.com.
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