Cavaliers Make History in Four-Set Loss to No. 8 UCLA
LINCOLN, Neb. – For the first time in program history, the Virginia volleyball team took one set from a top-10 nationally ranked opponent, but it wasn’t enough as the Cavaliers fell to No. 8 UCLA, 3-1 (17-25, 25-23, 14-25, 16-25), on Friday evening in the second day of the Ameritas Players Challenge at the University of Nebraska. Virginia falls to 4-4 on the season, while UCLA improves to 7-1.
“We’ve had spurts of brilliant play in our first two matches,” head coach Lee Maes said. “Our expectation is not to win just one set, but to sustain a level of effort, focus and discipline that will allow us to have a chance to win the match. We know that if we continue improving our passing that we are very difficult team to defend. Our focus will always continue to be more consistent siding out and the results will often take care of themselves.”
Senior Lauren Dickson led Virginia with 15 kills and junior AJ Cushman collected a career-high 21 digs and landed a match-high four aces. Freshman Rachel Gray dished out 35 assists, while sophomore Hillary Trebels – making her first collegiate start – led the team with a personal-best four blocks.
Three Bruins paced UCLA’s attack, led by Kaitlin Sather’s 13 kills and 13 digs. Lainey Gera led the defense with 16 digs and Lauren Cook distributed 44 helpers. Amanda Gill contributed 10 kills and a match-high eight blocks.
UCLA scored 10 of the 13 points midway through the opening frame to take control of the set and eventually won, 25-17.
The Cavaliers regrouped in the second set, stringing together a five-point run to lead the Bruins by a score of 11-4. UCLA answered with a five-point streak of its own, though, cutting Virginia’s advantage to one, 13-12. Virginia fought off the Bruins’ attempt to take the lead, allowing UCLA to even the score at 22 all, but a kill from Dickson kept Virginia ahead. An attack error by the Bruins gave Virginia its first set point opportunity, at 24-22, but a kill from UCLA prolonged the game. Farrar came up huge for the Cavaliers on the ensuing rally, knocking down a set from Gray to secure the Cavaliers its first victory over a top-10 team, 25-23.
The Bruins responded in the third frame, using a 7-0 run midway through the game to put the set out of reach for the Cavaliers. Virginia fell behind 19-7 before UCLA strung together another five points to cruise to a 25-14 victory.
An 8-1 run in favor of UCLA put the Bruins a head 12-8 in the fourth frame, before a 7-1 run by UCLA made the score 21-11. Dickson landed a kill to get things going for the Cavaliers, though, and a four-point run from Virginia forced the Bruins to call a timeout. The rally wouldn’t be enough for the Cavaliers though, as the Bruins went on to win the set, 25-16, and match, 3-1.
Virginia will conclude the tournament with a match against BYU on Saturday at 5 p.m. ET.