Rowland Not Enough As No. 1 UCLA Tops Huskies
Nov. 4, 2011
LOS ANGELES - Despite a brilliant offensive display from senior Bianca Rowland, the 10th-ranked Husky volleyball team was unable to knock off top-ranked UCLA tonight at the John Wooden Center. The Huskies (18-5, 10-5 Pac-12) had set points in both the first and third sets, but were 0-for-3 attempting to close out, as the Bruins (21-3, 14-2 Pac-12) took the match, 28-26, 25-13, 28-26.
Rowland led the Huskies in kills for the first time all season, putting away a season-best 14 with no errors on 21 attempts for a .667 attack percentage. But Washington's usually stout block could not slow down a Bruins offense that hit .390 tonight, the highest by a UW opponent this season by more than a hundred points. Washington was out-blocked tonight for just the second time all season, blocking four balls to six for UCLA. Freshman Krista Vansant was solid with 12 kills and 10 digs for a double-double, while Rachael Kidder led UCLA with 19 kills.
This was UW's first match against the No. 1-ranked team in the country since the 2005 NCAA title match victory over then-No. 1 Nebraska.
The Huskies will be looking back with regret at the first set, where they led a late lead slip away, bounced back to earn two set points, but converted neither. Sophomore Gabbi Parker got the first kill of the night, and a series of early kills by Vansant along with a block by Summer Ross and Lauren Barfield gave the Dawgs an 11-9 lead. A Rowland finish was followed by a block by Rowland and Kylin Muñoz for a 15-12 Husky lead. Washington then used a 3-0 run with a Rowland kill, an ace from Evan Sanders, and a kill by Vansant on a Sanders set to earn a 19-14 lead, their biggest of the set. But after Sanders missed her next serve, the Bruins went on a long run, six points in total, to roar back to a 21-19 lead with a pair of Husky timeouts mixed in. Parker finally snapped the run with a kill, and then Washington got back even at 22-all after a Ross kill and one of three aces on the night from Parker. Muñoz then connected to put the Huskies back up one, and a Barfield middle finish gave the Huskies set point at 24-23. UCLA's Tabi Love saved the first with a kill, then Ross was called in the net for set point Bruins. Muñoz saved it off a set from Jenna Orlandini, and then a Rowland put-away got the Dawgs back in front at 26-25 for another set point. But Ross sent her serve long, and then Kidder made the Huskies pay with two straight kills to take it, 28-26. Washington hit an excellent .356 for the set, with 19 kills, but the Bruins hit an eye-popping .442 with 22 kills. Rowland had five kills on seven swings in the set.
After the disappointing end to the first set, the Huskies struggled to get anything going in set number two. An ace from Kidder forced UW to call an early timeout trailing 2-5. Barfield and Ross blocked Love to make it 4-7, but the Bruins then had three blocks in a seven point span to push the lead to 12-6 and force UW's second timeout. The Huskies would get no closer the rest of the way, as the Bruins pulled away for the 25-13 set win. The Huskies had just six kills in the set, hitting .057 while UCLA was nearly as strong as the first, hitting .350.
Looking to shake things up in the third, Coach McLaughlin inserted junior Kelly Holford at libero for the first time this season. The teams were even through the first 10 points, but UCLA went on a 4-0 run to take a 9-5 lead and for a UW timeout. After the break, Parker went on a great service run to bring the Huskies right back, as she fired two aces around a Ross put away that was set by Vansant. However the momentum went right back to UCLA on a 5-1 run and again McLaughlin motioned for time, down 10-14. Rowland ended the run with a kill, and then Ross served the Huskies back again to 14-all as Vansant killed two straight and Rowland ended the 4-0 run with another kill. UCLA maintained the lead, however, and the teams alternated points until a 3-0 Bruins run looked to end it for UCLA at 22-18. Washington, however, was not finished yet, as two UCLA errors was followed by a Muñoz kill off the block, cutting it to 21-22 and forcing a Bruins timeout. Muñoz and Rowland then rejected Kidder out of the break to tie it up. Love finished for the home team, but Rowland connected again and then the Bruins sailed one long and just like that the Dawgs had the first set point at 24-23. But just like the first set, Tabi Love saved it for the Bruins with a kill. Muñoz then missed to give the Bruins match point at 25-24. Rowland saved one with her 14th kill, and two points later Vansant kept UW alive with a kill for 26-all. But Kidder earned a third match point with a kill, and then Parker ran into the Bruins block on the next rally for another rough 28-26 outcome. Vansant had her best set, putting down six kills and hitting .417, while Rowland somehow upped her production to six kills on seven swings (.857), but Washington still was unable to fluster the Bruins offense, which again hit .371 in the set.
Washington will look to respond tomorrow night at the Galen Center across town, as it takes on fourth-ranked USC, which is tied for the Pac-12 lead along with the Bruins. First serve again will be at 7 p.m.