Dec. 3, 2010

Courteys of UCLA Athletics

AUSTIN, Texas -
Senior Dicey McGraw (22), sophomore Bojana Todorovic (17) and junior Sara Sage (11) each had double figures in kills, as the ninth-ranked Bruins held off a spunky American squad in five sets on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Gregory Gymnasium. Set scores were 26-28, 26-24, 23-25, 25-19, 15-11.

The Bruins improve to 22-8 overall and will face the winner of the Texas/UTSA match on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. PT/6:30 p.m. CT. Gametracker and live video will be available at The Eagles end their season at 29-3.

Sage hit .529 with only two errors in 17 attempts, adding three aces. Junior Lauren Van Orden added a double-double with 61 assists and 12 digs to go along with three aces. Junior Lainey Gera (15) and freshman Kelly Reeves (13) each had double figures in digs, while freshman Mariana Aquino posted a career-high 10 blocks. The Bruins hit .220 for the match.

The Eagles held a slight 3-2 lead early on in the opener until three in a row on two kills by Todorovic and an American attack error made it 5-3 UCLA. After an Eagle sideout, an Aquino kill and a Reeves solo block put the Bruins up by three at 7-4. American closed to one at 8-7, but four in a row by the Bruins on a kill by freshman Meg Norton and three consecutive from McGraw pushed the lead to 12-7. UCLA was up by as many as five as late as 19-14.

But American responded with an 8-2 run to take a 22-21 edge. UCLA answered with a McGraw kill and an Aquino/McGraw combo block to re-take the lead 23-22, however two in a row by the Eagles gave them set point. The Bruins came back with a kill by McGraw and a combo block from Aquino and sophomore Rachael Kidder to earn a set point of their own at 25-24. UCLA still had a set point at 26-25, but three in a row by American gave them a 28-26 victory in the opener. McGraw had seven kills in the first, while Todorovic added six. The Bruins were out-hit .318 to .289.

The second set featured 16 ties and six lead changes, with neither team leading by more than three. With UCLA leading 4-3, American netted five of seven to take an 8-6 edge. The Bruins rallied with four of the next five to go back up 10-9. A combo block by Reeves and Sage and a Reeves kill evened things at eight. After an American sideout, a Todorovic kill and a Sage/Van Orden combo block put the Bruins up by a point.

The Bruins maintained their advantage, leading by as many as three at 20-17 and 21-18. But American battled back with four in a row to go ahead 22-21. Kills by Aquino and Kidder put UCLA back up 23-22, but the Eagles would tie it up at 23 and 24-all. However, a kill by Sage gave the Bruins a second set point and an American attack error would give UCLA a 26-24 triumph. McGraw paced the Bruins with four kills in the second, while Aquino, Sage and Todorovic had three apiece. The Bruins out-hit the Eagles .278 to .231.

UCLA jumped out to an early 5-2 lead in set three on three kills by Todorovic and one each from Aquino and Sage. The Eagles responded with four in a row to take a 6-5 edge. The Bruins rallied with three of the next four on kills by Sage and Todorovic and an AU attack error to go back ahead 8-7, but the Eagles tallied the next four to take an 11-8 advantage. American saw its lead get up to as many as six at 20-14 before UCLA came back.

Three straight American errors cut the deficit to 20-17, and one sideout later, back-to-back kills by McGraw and an ace from Sage made it 21-20 American. The Eagles again sided out, but another 3-0 UCLA run on a kill by McGraw, an Aquino/McGraw combo block and an Aquino solo stuff gave the Bruins a 23-22 advantage. However, American posted the last three points of the set to take it 25-23. McGraw and Todorovic each had four kills in the third, while Sage added three. The Bruins were out-hit .344 to .241.

The Eagles scored the first four points and six of eight to take an early advantage in the fourth set. UCLA came back with three in a row on kills by Todorovic and Sage and an American attack error to cut its deficit to one at 6-5, but the Eagles rattled off five of the next six to take a set-best lead of five at 11-6. American still led 13-9 before UCLA made its run. Two Kidder kills with a Sage/Van Orden combo block in between them made it 13-12. The Eagles scored two of the next three to go ahead 15-13, but a 7-0 UCLA run put them on the brink of forcing a fifth set.

The run began with two kills by McGraw, an Aquino solo block and a Sage ace to make it 17-15 UCLA. Another kill by McGraw and another ace from Sage put the Bruins ahead 19-15. The Eagles scored the next two points to cut their deficit to two at 19-17, but a 4-0 Bruin run on a kill by McGraw, an Aquino/McGraw combo block, a Van Orden ace and an American attack error made it 23-17. UCLA would go on to win the set following a Kidder kill to post a 25-19 win. Kidder had five kills to lead the Bruins, while McGraw had four. The Bruins held a slim .053 to .000 hitting advantage.

UCLA recorded three of the first four points of the deciding set, but American got the next four to take a 5-3 edge. The Eagles led by as many as three as late as 8-5, but a 5-0 Bruin run put them on top by a pair. A McGraw kill, an American attack error and a Van Orden ace tied things at eight. UCLA then went ahead on an Aquino stuff block and a McGraw kill to make it 10-8.

The Eagles rallied with two in a row to tie the score at 10, but two kills by Todorovic, an Aquino/Kidder combo block and a Reeves ace gave the Bruins match point at 14-10. American held off the first attempt, but a kill by Kidder on try number two gave the Bruins a 15-11 victory. McGraw and Todorovic had three kills apiece in the fifth set, as the Bruins out-hit the Eagles .250 to .231.