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Friday August 25, 2000NACWAA: No. 1 Prevails...UCLA defeats No. 2 PSU

Gainesville, FL

In the first women’s collegiate volleyball match of the 2000 season, the No. 1 UCLA Bruins topped the second ranked and defending NCAA Champion Penn State Nittany Lions in a five-game struggle. Game scores were 8-15, 15-12, 15-2, 13-15 and 15-12. The Bruins are now 1-0 on the young season, and will play on Saturday in the championship match of the State Farm Women’s Volleyball Classic.

The Bruins struggled in the opening game of the match, giving the Nittany Lions a 8-0 lead before scoring a point in the game. The Bruins battled back to 8-7, but were unable to close it out from there, falling 15-8.

In game two, nine sideouts went into the books before a point was scored, this time by the Bruins. It was a back-and-forth battle with six ties before Penn State began to pull away after 9-9. This time, however, the Bruins were able to reel PSU in, tying the score at 12-2 on Lauren Fendrick’s service, tying the game at 12-12 and pulling away for a 15-12 win. In the game, the middle blockers were the team’s top offensive weapons, as senior Elisabeth Bachman and redshirt freshman Ella Harley had four kills apiece. Bachman also shared three block assists with Fendrick in the game win.

After the break between games two and three, the Bruins came back out onto the O’Connell Center floor and dominated the third game, culminating in a 15-2 game win. UCLA’s Player of the Year candidate Kristee Porter checked in with eight of her 30 kills in game three alone.

Game four quickly became a see-saw battle between the first- and second-ranked teams in the country. The teams remained within four points of each other throughout the match. After a tie at 6-6, Penn State slowly pulled away, serving for game point at 14-11. The Bruins, however, were able to fight off nine straight game points, bringing the score to 14-11, before a service ace by Katie Schumacher ended it at 15-13 and sent the match into the rally-scored fifth game.

It was more of the same in game five. The Bruins opened with the serve, and inched out to a 1-0 lead on a Fendrick kill. UCLA went out to leads of 5-3 and 6-4, and was still up by just two when the teams switched sides, the Bruins in front 8-6, having capitalized on four Porter kills and a solo block by Harley. After the switch, Porter checked in with four more kills, including the swing that ended the match with a 15-12 game five victory for the Bruins.

"We had some rough edges tonight," said UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski, "but I’m pleased with our starting point for the season. It was our first match out, we need to smooth out our offense a little bit, and I need to learn to count to 18 (new NCAA rules give coaches 18 substitutions per game), but I’m pleased with what I saw tonight."

With her 30 kills on the evening, Porter now has nine 30-kill matches in her career, by far the top total by any player in Pac-10 history. That kill total led the match, followed closely by 25 kills from Penn State’s Mishka Levy. Three additional Bruins, Bachman, Fendrick and Ashley Bowles checked in with double figure kills, having 16, 12 and 11, respectively. Defensively, Fendrick led the way with two solo blocks and four block assists while posting a team-high 17 digs. Six Bruins checked in with double-figure digs, and UCLA out-blocked Penn State 11-4.

UCLA will now play either No. 9 Florida or No. 13 Colorado State in the Championship match of the State Farm Women’s Volleyball Classic, at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday. The UCLA-Penn State match will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 10 p.m. Pacific Time on Friday evening, while the Championship match will air at 10 a.m. PT Sunday, Aug. 27, also on ESPN2.

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