Women’s volleyball falls short to UCLA

first_imgKyleen Hengelhaupt | Daily TrojanStreak snapped · Sophomore outside hitter Alyse Ford spikes the ball in USC’s defeat to UCLA on Wednesday, as the win streak ended.The No. 21 women’s volleyball team could not rally to beat No. 9 UCLA, as the Trojans’ eight-match win streak came to end with a 3-1 loss to the Bruins on Wednesday at the Galen Center. There was much anticipation leading up to the team’s Pac-12 play opener against their crosstown rivals, as UCLA was the only team to beat the Trojans at home last season.“No one likes to lose to the Bruins,” head coach Mick Haley said. “And I am the worst loser of the bunch.”The Trojans started off the first set strong with tight blocks and strong kills, but the Bruins responded with on target passing and strong kills of their own. The two teams rallied back and forth, with neither team being able to pull farther than one or two points ahead for most of the game.Not only were the two teams very evenly matched, but they both also ran a two setter-system throughout the match. While the Trojans have been using this system all season long with junior and senior setters Reni Meyer-Whalley and Alice Pizzasegola, it is the first time the Bruins have used it this season.UCLA quickly established dominance by taking the first set 25-22, but the Trojans answered. USC’s two middles, junior and senior blockers Jordan Dunn and Elise Ruddins, led the way for the team in being able to pull away with a second-set victory, as Dunn had three blocks, and the two had seven kills combined. The two seemed to make a play every time they touched the ball.Sophomore libero Victoria Garrick, filling in for the injured libero Taylor Whittingham, also stepped up with 24 digs, keeping the Trojans’ passing at a high level. “Not having Taylor out there was certainly disruptive,” Haley said. “But isn’t an excuse because Victoria did a great job. She came in there and you hardly knew there was a difference.”Along with powerful performances from Ruddins and Dunn, junior outside hitter Niki Withers and junior opposite Brittany Abercrombie also put up impressive numbers, with 13 and six kills respectively. All of the Trojans came out to play though, as scoring was more spread out among the players than it has been all season so far.Despite spreading their scoring, impressive digs and strong blocks, the Trojans played from behind for almost all of the fourth set, down 2-1 in the match. At one point, the Trojans were down 14-7, only to make a comeback, bringing the score to 22-22. However, after long rallies for single points, it was the Bruins that came out on top with a victory after winning the fourth set 29-27.Bruins outside hitter Reily Buechler had a game-high 21 kills and was a huge factor into their victory. UCLA had more service errors than the Trojans but made up those points with more kills. “I am encouraged about where we could go,” Haley said. “This was our first test against a top 10 team and if that was a top 10 team, then I think we can be pretty good this year.”The Trojans’ next match is against Washington University this Friday at Galen Center at 7 p.m.last_img

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