On Friday night at John Wooden Center on UCLA’s campus, the CU volleyball team fell to the UCLA Bruins, 3-1 (25-17, 25-15, 19-25, 25-23).
Despite the loss, Friday’s match was an improvement for the Buffs as they had their first-ever set victory in the Pac-12. The set win was also the first against a ranked opponent since CU defeated Nebraska 3-1 in Oct. 2008.
In the first set, UCLA gained an early 14-7 advantage. Colorado closed that gap to three at 15-12, but the Bruins responded with a 5-0 run to make the score 20-12. The Buffs were able to score five more times before the end of the set, but the Bruins didn’t let up and would take the set 25-17.
Though CU looked strong at the start of the second set, earning a 5-4 lead, they couldn’t slow UCLA down for long. The Bruins took 12 of the next 13 points to make the score 16-6. Colorado attempted to close the gap again, but while they were able to work their way to within six at 18-12, they eventually fell to the Bruins 25-15.
In the third set, the Buffs gave their conference competition a run for its money. Colorado built a 12-6 advantage and didn’t let go of the lead for the rest of the set. While the Bruins came close at 15-12, the Buffs took the set 25-19.
For the first time in conference play this season, they extended the match to a fourth set.
CU had momentum early in the fourth set, pulling ahead 12-9. The Bruins went on a 5-0 run, however, regaining the lead at 14-12. The Buffs then took three straight points, taking the lead again at 15-14.
For the rest of the set, the score remained close as neither team went up by more than three points. The Bruins got the final word, though, winning the set 25-23 and earning the overall match victory.
“Tonight we put a team on the floor that showed grit and fought a tremendous fight,” head coach Liz Kritza said in a news release. “We needed to have a match like this to build some confidence and propel us forward to continue to work harder until we are getting the results we want.”
With the loss, the Buffs drop to 5-15 overall and 0-12 in the Pac-12. The Bruins are now 17-3 overall and 10-2 in conference play.
Colorado’s trip to the Golden State is not over yet. The Buffs took on another ranked competitor, No. 3 USC, on Saturday at 8 p.m. in Los Angeles.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Caryn Maconi at Caryn.firstname.lastname@example.org.