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EVANSTON, Ill. Despite a strong fight from the Virginia volleyball team, the Cavaliers dropped their opening match at the Wildcat Classic to No. 4 UCLA, 0-3 (17-25, 23-25, 17-25).

Third-year Lauren Dickson (Austin, Texas) led the squad with 13 kills and nine digs, while second-year Kelly Irvin dished out 24 assists.

Playing in front of hometown fans, third-year Brittani Rendina (Lisle, Ill.) shared the team-lead of nine digs, while Chicago native first-year Simone Asque landed eight kills.

Second-year Sydney Hill (Kalamazoo, Mich,) landed a career-high seven kills with two blocks, while classmate Kendahl Voelker (Fort Myers, Fla.) had five kills and two blocks.

For UCLA (8-1), Illinois native and two-time first-team All-American setter Nellie Spicer led the way with 37 assists and four service aces. Katie Camp and Dicey McGraw knocked down 13 and 12 kills, respectively, while Jessica Fine collected a match-high 14 digs.

Spicer’s kill from Fine on the opening serve of the first frame set the pace early for the Bruins. Spicer added an ace on her first serve to increase UCLA’s advantage to four early, at 5-1. The Bruins maintained their advantage until a 4-2 run of the Cavaliers cut the gap to two at 12-10.

UCLA responded with a 5-0 run of it’s own, though, to increase the lead to 17-10, en route to a 25-17 victory.

The Cavaliers gave the nationally-ranked Bruins a contest in the second stanza. Despite falling behind early in the frame, Virginia rallied for a 6-1 run late in the set to take it’s first lead of the match, 22-21. The Bruins responded with a timeout and a kill out of the intermission to knot the score at 22. A service error kept the Cavaliers on top before back-to-back kills from Ali Daley gave the Bruins a set-point opportunity.

An attack error on the Cavaliers ended the frame with UCLA on top, 25-23.

Following back-to-back aces from Spicer midway through the third set, Asque landed back-to-back kills to spark a short rally for the Cavaliers, but Virginia struggled to hold on as UCLA went on to win the match with a 25-17 victory.

Virginia (7-3) will look to rebound later this evening with a match against Northwestern at 8 p.m. ET.

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