No. 1 California goes down again
UCLA finishes weekend with wins against nation’s top-two teams
LOS ANGELES -- Sophomore Kelly Reeves led seventh-ranked UCLA with 14 kills, adding 14 digs for a double-double, while senior Lauren Van Orden also had a double-double with 40 assists and 10 digs, as the Bruins knocked off top-ranked California (25-17, 25-20, 19-25, 25-15) in four sets on Saturday at the John Wooden Center.
The Bruins finish the weekend with an 11-2 record after defeating the top-two teams in the country and they are now 4-1 in Pac-12 play. The Golden Bears losts their second consecutive game and fall to 13-2 overall and 3-2 in league action.
Junior Rachael Kidder added 12 kills, junior Tabi Love posted 11 kills with five blocks and sophomore Mariana Aquino recorded a career-high 10 kills with six digs and four blocks. Freshman Zoë Nightingale had six kills and no errors in 11 attempts for a .545 hitting percentage to go with a season-high seven blocks. Two more Bruins also had double figures in digs with senior Lainey Gera notching 19 and sophomore Meg Norton adding 10, while junior Bojana Todorovic had seven. The Bruins hit .224 for the match.
California took an early 8-5 lead to start the match, but UCLA battled back with a 5-0 run to take a 10-8 edge. A kill by Nightingale, a combo block by Nightingale and Van Orden, a Kidder kill, a Cal attack error and a Nightingale solo stuff put the Bruins up by two. The Golden Bears came back with the next three to retake the advantage, but four sideouts later, the Bruins had another 5-0 run to take the lead back for good.
Down 13-12, the Bruins got four points in a row by Aquino, who had two kills, a solo block and a combo block with Love to make it 16-13. A Reeves kill extended the lead to four. After a Cal sideout, three conseuctive points for UCLA on an Aquino kill and back-to-back Bear attack errors brought the lead to six at 20-14. Leading 22-17, the Bruins scored the final three on a Van Orden dump, a solo stuff by Nightingale and a Love kill to win it 25-17. Aquino, Kidder, Love and Reeves all had three kills in the opener, while Gera added 10 digs. The Bruins out-hit the Bears .343 to .045.
Just like in the first set, Cal took an early lead in the second, holding three-point advantages at 6-3 and 9-6. But four in a row by UCLA on two kills by Love, an ace from Gera and an Aquino kill put the home team up by one. After a Cal sideout tied things at 10, a 3-0 Bruin run on a kill by Aquino, a bad Bear set and a combo block by Aquino and Love made it 13-10.
Cal got to within one at 15-14, but five consecutive points by the Bruins broke it open. A Kidder kill and a Reeves ace made it 17-14 and that was followed by a solo block by Kidder, a kill from Kidder and a solo stuff by Nightingale to make it 20-14. The Bruins' biggest lead of the set was seven at 23-16, but Cal scored four in a row to cut its deficit to three at 23-20. However, back-to-back kills by Love and Reeves gave the Bruins a 25-20 victory. Love and Reeves paced the Bruins with four kills apiece, while Aquino and Kidder each added three. The Bruins out-hit the Bears .163 to .147.
The Bruins' biggest lead of the third set was two on three occasions. At 6-4, Cal scored five in a row, seven of eight and 13 of 16 to go up by eight at 17-9. UCLA scored the next two on kills by Nightingale and freshman Megan Moenoa, but a 3-0 Cal run gave the visitors a set-best lead of nine at 20-11. The Bruins came back with seven of the next nine, but could get no closer than four, as the Bears won the set 25-19. Reeves had five kills in the third, as Cal out-hit UCLA .306 to .128.
UCLA never trailed in the fourth set, jumping out to a double-digit lead before Cal even got three points. A kill by Nightingale, an ace from Norton and a solo stuff by Love got the Bruins on the board, and after a Cal sideout, four in a row by UCLA on a Nightingale kill, a Gera ace, a Bear attack error and a Love kill made it 7-1. After another Cal sideout, Love combined on three straight points on a pair of kills and a combo block by Aquino, who also had a kill during the 4-0 run to make it 11-2.
After yet another Cal sideout, the Bruins scored five of six on two kills by Reeves, a Kidder kill, a Kidder/Nightingale combo block and a Bear ball handling error to extend the advantage to a set-best 12 at 16-4. Cal made things a little interesting with runs of 6-1 and 8-2 to get to within six at 18-12, but the visitors would get no closer. With the Bruins up 21-14, a kill by Aquino and two in a row from Kidder gave the Bruins match point. Cal staved off the first attempt, but a Kidder kill on try number two finished off a 25-15 win in set four. Kidder had five kills in the fourth, while Aquino, Love and Nightingale had three apiece, as the Bruins out-hit the Bears .282 to .118.