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Bruins Best Bulldogs With Balanced Attack

Nov. 30, 2007

Story courtesy of UCLABRUINS.COM

CLEMSON, S.C. – Junior Kaitlin Sather posted a match-high 11 kills and junior Jessica Fine had 18 digs, as the eighth-seeded UCLA women’s volleyball team recorded season highs in hitting percentage and aces in a three-game sweep of Alabama A&M on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Jervey Gym. Game scores were 30-9, 30-14, 30-13.

The Bruins improve to 21-10 on the season and will take on the winner of the Clemson-Alabama match on Saturday at 4 p.m. PT. Gametracker and live audio with Darren Preston at the call will be available on Alabama A&M finishes its season with a 15-10 record.

UCLA also set a school record for fewest number of points allowed in a three-game match since the advent of rally scoring in 2001. The Bruins gave up just 36 points on Friday, seven fewer than their previous low of 43 set on two occasions. UCLA hit .420 as a team, with Sather posting a career-best .643 hitting percentage. The Bruins’ 11 aces were also one above their previous season best, with Sather adding three of those.

Most of the regulars played in just the first two games. Junior Nellie Spicer had 25 assists and four kills, while freshman Dicey McGraw posted eight kills. Freshman Katie Mills added five kills and four blocks, while freshman Juliane Piggott recorded six kills and four blocks. Senior Rachell Johnson (4 kills) and junior Ali Daley (3 kills) rested in the third game. Junior Nikki Jagd had 13 assists in the final set, with junior Elise Carstensen adding four kills in the third.

The Bruins never trailed in the first game, jumping out to early leads of 7-1 and 10-2 before Alabama A&M called a timeout. Sather had four of the first 10 Bruin points on a pair of kills and two aces. UCLA’s lead reached double figures for the first time at 14-4 and reached a game high of 21 on the game-clinching point. The Bruins hit .500 in the first game and distributed the ball around well, with five different players posting at least two kills. UCLA also had five blocks, holding the Bulldogs to a -.182 hitting attack.

The Bulldogs had their only three leads of the match in the second game. The teams split the first 10 points until the Bruins went on a 4-0 run to take the lead for good. After an Alabama A&M sideout, another 4-0 run put UCLA up 13-6 and forced the Bulldogs into a timeout. The Bruins stretched their lead into double figures for the first time at 18-8, which was during the middle of a 5-0 run that gave UCLA a 19-8 edge. Leading 22-12, the Bruins ran off seven straight and closed the game with a 30-14 victory.

In game three, it was another wire-to-wire victory for UCLA. Sather had the first two kills of game three, as the Bruins stormed out to a 10-3 lead. At 11-5, UCLA scored six straight, with Jagd serving two aces to put the Bruins up by a dozen at 17-5. UCLA’s advantage never dipped below double figures the rest of the way, reaching a game-high 18 at 29-11. An Alabama A&M service error wrapped up the match with a 30-13 win in game three for the Bruins.

Alabama A&M was led by Brittani Lewis’ nine kills. The Bulldogs hit -.010 for the match.