MinnesThe 10th-ranked UCLA Bruins rallied from a two-game deficit and two match points to defeat Minnesota in five games, 9-15, 11-15, 16-14, 15-5, 15-9. UCLA improves its season record to 2-0, while Minnesota drops to 2-2. The Gophers finish third in the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Classic with a 1-2 record.
Nicole Branagh led Minnesota with 21 kills and 20 digs, the latter being a career high. Lisa Aschenbrenner doubled her career high with 18 kills, while Yvonne Wichert added 15 kills and 17 digs. Stephanie Hagen had 12 kills and a team-leading six blocks for the Gophers. UCLA's Kristee Porter led all players with 28 kills, while teammate Ashley Bowles added 23 kills.
Minnesota scored eight of the first 10 points of the match behind strong serving and the offense of Branagh. The Gophers had three aces and three kills by Branagh in the run. UCLA responded by scoring the next five points, four on kills by Bowles. The Gophers stopped the run with four points on Stephanie Hagen's serve, three on kills by Branagh and a UCLA hitting error. The Bruins scored the next two points to cut the lead to 12-9, but an ace by Branagh and a kill and a solo block by Stephanie Hagen ended the game.
UCLA jumped out to a 7-4 lead in the second game, but the Gophers answered with five consecutive points off of the serve of Susan Shudlick to take a 9-7 lead. The Game was tied at 9, 10 and 11 before the Gophers scored four straight points to win the game. Linda Shudlick had two kills and a block in the final rally for Minnesota.
The Bruins led 9-6 in the middle of game three, but the Gophers ran off seven consecutive points to take a 13-9 lead. Minnesota's blocking was very effective in this run, scoring four points on stuff blocks of UCLA attempts. The Bruins countered with three points on two Branagh hitting errors and a Porter kill to cut the Minnesota advantage to 13-12. A Porter error gave Minnesota a match point at 14-12, but the Gophers could not convert on two match points. UCLA scored the next four points, the final two on kills by Porter and Bowles, to win the game 16-14.
UCLA continued its run in the fourth game, scoring the first six points. Minnesota scored four of the next five points to pull to within 7-4, scoring three points on Aschenbrenner's serve. UCLA ended the game by scoring the final seven points.
The Bruins broke a 3-3 tie in the rally-scored final game with six consecutive points, and were not threatened for the remainder of the match. Bowles had five kills to lead the Bruins in the final game.
The Gophers return home to the Twin Cities to host Drake at the Sports Pavilion on Wednesday at 7 p.m.