Aug. 24, 2012
LINCOLN, Neb. – Behind 18 kills from first team All-American Rachel Kidder and a strong Bruin frontline, No. 1 UCLA took down Notre Dame, 3-1 (25-17, 18-25, 25-23, 25-19), in a closely fought contest at the NU Coliseum on the campus of the University of Nebraska on Friday night.
The Irish gave the defending national champion Bruins all they wanted for most of the match, dominating the second set, and taking the third set all the way to the end, but UCLA out-blocked the Irish, 12-4, and committed nine less attack errors (29-20) to take the contest and improve to 1-0 on the young season. UCLA hit .205 to Notre Dame’s .145, and had five service aces to Notre Dame’s zero.
Kidder showed why she was an All-American from a year ago, pounding out 18 kills to pace three Bruins with double-digit kill totals. First team all-Pac-12 member Kelly Reeves had a double-double with 10 kills and 11 digs, while Tabi Love had 12 kills. Megan Moenoa had 35 assists and six digs and Bojana Todorovic paced the Bruins with 16 digs.
Leading the way for the Irish was sophomore and preseason all-BIG EAST selection Jeni Houser, who had 17 kills on only 28 attacks, good for an impressive .464 attack percentage. Senior Hilary Eppink and sophomore Toni Alugbue each notched 12 kills. Alugbue also had 12 digs, one of two Irish players to turn in a double-double on the evening. Junior Maggie Brindock had the other one with 19 assists and 10 digs. In her first collegiate contest, libero Taylor Morey had 29 digs and five assists. Sammie Brown led the squad in assists with 25 and also had five digs.
Notre Dame continues its weekend on Saturday when it meets Saint Louis in a 4:30 p.m. ET match at NU Coliseum.
The Bruins took the first set, 25-17, after going on a 5-1 run when the score was knotted at eight. Notre Dame cut the score to three at 17-14, but could not get any closer as UCLA rode the 6-3 Kidder, who had eight kills in 13 opportunities in the first set, and Reeves, who turned in six kills in 12 chances, to a first-set victory. UCLA hit an impressive .375 in set one with 18 kills. Eppink’s four kills paced the Irish in the opening set.
The Irish turned the tables on the Bruins in set two, controlling from the beginning and claiming a 25-18 victory. Notre Dame got off to a much better start in set two and raced to a 6-1 lead on the strength of Morey’s serving. After UCLA made a comeback to cut the margin to 7-5, Notre Dame again went on a run to stretch the lead to 10-5 and later to 17-11. A pair of kills from Alugbue over the final four points gave the Irish the set. After watching Reeves and Kidder combine for 14 kills on 25 chances in the first set, the Irish defense limited the two to only four kills in 29 chances in the second set. After hitting .375 in the first set, UCLA hit -.047 in the second. On offense, Houser put down five kills to lead Notre Dame.
The third set was the most hotly contested of the match, as the two teams battled back and forth. The Bruins never trailed, but couldn’t put the Irish away as they routinely came back from three- and four-point deficits to tie the score or to get within one. After a late UCLA timeout with the score 22-21, Kidder slammed down her 14th kill of the contest to push the lead to 23-21. Subsequent kills by Eppink, UCLA’s Zoe Nightingale and Alugbue gave the Bruins set point at 24-23. Kidder put an end to the third set with her 15th kill of the match to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead.
UCLA closed out the contest in set four by going on a 12-5 run after the Irish took a 14-13 lead on a block by Marie Roof and Eppink. Love had five kills and the Bruins had four blocks in the set to close out the match.