LONG BEACH, CA-The UCLA Bruins women’s volleyball team is considered to be one of the best teams in the country. The Bruins are ranked No. 16 nationally. But they had their hands full at Walter Pyramid with a feisty Long Beach State squad backed by a strong, supporting home crowd.
With Kaushauna Williams (16 kills), Hailey Harward (16 kills), and Tyler Spriggs (14 kills) bringing the noise with a combined 46 kills between them, Long Beach State didn’t make things easy for the Bruins, taking UCLA to four sets.
But the guile and preservation of UCLA guided them to a hard-fought 3-1 win. Statistically, Long Beach State owned UCLA throughout the evening, holding advantages in kills (58-47), assists (57-45), digs (65-64), and aces (4-2).
However, the Bruins gained an edge over Long Beach State in hitting .210 to .199 and produced fewer errors (26-17). That was the difference. UCLA picked up 17 kills from sophomore outside hitter Mac May and received 15 digs from senior Zana Muno in the four matches. Though Long Beach State defaulted to the Bruins during this matchup, UCLA had to sweat and work for every match it won.
Long Beach State jumped out to an early lead in the first match, but UCLA came roaring back to win 25-21. Behind the play of Williams, a freshman, and Harward, Long Beach broke even against the visitors, claiming a 25-17 win in the next match. The final two matches emulated what had taken place all night: a battle of wills and extraordinary play from both teams.
Williams, a highly-recruited star out of El Camino Real, was simply sensational. But alas, UCLA was able to notch close victories in the final two matches (25-23, 25-23) to close out the four-game set.