BERKELEY, Calif. — Behind a match-high 22 kills from junior Rachael Kidder, the sixth-ranked Bruins dealt No. 2 California its first home loss of the season with a four-set victory at Haas Pavilion on Friday. Set scores were 25-17, 20-25, 25-17, 25-16. Junior Tabi Love (14) and freshman Zoë Nightingale (10) were also in double figures in kills.
The Bruins improve to 19-3 overall and 12-2 in Pac-12 play, moving into a first-place tie in the conference by virtue of USC’s three-set loss at Stanford. The Golden Bears fall to 21-3 and 11-3 in league action, suffering their first home setback in 15 matches.
Kidder added seven digs for the Bruins, while Nightingale hit a career-best .421 with only two errors in 19 attempts to tie a personal high in kills. Sophomore Mariana Aquino had seven kills and no hitting errors for the second contest in a row in 20 swings (.350) and senior Lauren Van Orden posted her team-best ninth double-double of the year with 51 assists and 13 digs. Defensively, senior Lainey Gera (15) and junior Bojana Todorovic (12) were each in double figures in digs, while sophomore Kelly Reeves added eight. Todorovic recorded three aces, as the Bruins had eight for the match and hit .270 as a team.
The Bruins found themselves down early in the opening set 6-4, but came back with four in a row to take an 8-6 edge. Kills by Van Orden and Aquino were sandwiched between two Cal attack errors. UCLA didn’t trail for the rest of the set. The Golden Bears sided out to make it 8-7, but UCLA runs of 5-1 and 9-3 increased the advantage to seven at 17-10. Kidder had two kills during the first run, Reeves added another and Cal had two attack errors to make it 13-8.
After two consecutive points by the home squad, the visitors netted the next four on three kills by Kidder and a Cal attack error to make it a seven-point difference. Four of the next five for Cal cut its deficit to four at 18-14, but the Bears would get no closer, as the Bruins recorded seven of the last 10 to win it 25-17. Leading 22-17, the Bruins scored the final three points on a kill by Love, a solo block from Kidder and an Aquino kill. Kidder led the Bruins with eight kills, as the Bruins out-hit the Bears .308 to .065.
The Bruins had the early lead in the second set, jumping out to an 11-7 advantage. Up 8-7, UCLA had its only 3-0 run of the set on a kill by Aquino, a Todorovic ace and a Cal attack error to make it a four-point margin. But the Golden Bears never saw their deficit fall below four and came back with an 8-3 run to take their first lead of the set at 15-14.
Three of four by UCLA on kills by Love and Aquino and an Aquino/Reeves combo block put the Bruins back up by one at 17-16, but Cal got the next two to take an 18-17 edge and held onto the lead for the rest of the set. UCLA tied it again at 18 and 19-all, but Cal recorded six of the last seven points to take the second 25-20. Kidder again led the Bruins with five kills, while Aquino added three. The Bruins were out-hit .147 to .043.
After trailing very early in set three 3-1, the Bruins scored three in a row on a Cal attack error and kills by Nightingale and Kidder to go up 4-3. The Bears came back to re-take the lead at 6-5, but another 3-0 UCLA run on a Love kill, a Gera ace and a Cal attack error made it 8-6. The home team responded with five of the next seven to go back up 11-10, however, four in a row on two kills from Kidder, one by freshman Karsta Lowe and an Aquino ace put the Bruins up for good at 14-11.
Still up by three at 17-14, the Bruins scored five in a row to take a 22-14 advantage. Love had three consecutive points on two kills and a solo block, and after a Cal attack error, another Love spike gave the Bruins a set-best lead of eight. Up 23-17, the Bruins posted the final two points on a combo block by Aquino and Reeves and a Kidder kill to win it 25-17. Love and Kidder each had six kills for the Bruins, while Gera and Van Orden both added five digs, as the Bruins out-hit the Bears .364 to .118.
After the Bruins took an early 4-2 lead in the fourth on two kills by Nightingale, one from Love and a Cal service error, the Golden Bears scored the next three to go ahead 5-4. However, a 3-0 run of its own for UCLA on two kills by Love and a Gera ace put the visitors up 7-5. The Bruins would not trail for the rest of the set. Up 8-7, a 4-0 run on a kill by Love, a Cal ball handling error and two Todorovic aces made it 12-7.
The Bears trimmed their deficit to a pair at 18-16, but the Bruins scored the last seven points of the match to win the fourth 25-16. Two Cal errors, a Kidder kill and another Bear miscue made it 22-16. Back-to-back kills by Lowe and Kidder gave the Bruins a bevy of match points and another spike by Lowe completed the victory. Love and Nightingale each had four kills and no errors in the fourth, while Kidder and Lowe added three apiece. The Bruins hit .441 in the set with 16 kills and only one error in 34 swings. Gera and Todorovic both had five digs.