10th-Ranked Bruins Suffer First Loss of Season to #9 Hawai’i

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HONOLULU, Hawai’i - Senior Kelly Reeves led the 10th-ranked Bruins with eight kills, junior Karsta Lowe added seven kills and sophomore Rachel Inouye had eight digs, but UCLA lost in three sets at #9 Hawai’i on Saturday in the championship match of the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic. Set scores were 25-18, 25-17, 25-18.
The Bruins fall to 5-1 on the year, while the Rainbow Wahine improve to 5-1. Lowe and Reeves were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Senior Mariana Aquino had five kills and only one error in eight attempts for a .500 hitting percentage, adding five blocks. UCLA hit .169 for the match.
The Bruins jumped out to an early 5-2 lead on kills by Lowe and redshirt freshman Haley Lawless, an Aquino/Lowe combo block and a pair of Rainbow Wahine attack errors. But Hawai’i came back with runs of 4-0, 7-1 and 9-2 to take an 11-7 edge. With the score 14-10, the Rainbow Wahine netted four in a row to take a set-best lead of eight at 18-10. UCLA came back with the next three on two Hawai’i errors and a Lowe kill to cut its deficit to five at 18-13, but would get no closer in the opener, as the Rainbow Wahine took the first 25-18. Lowe had five kills to lead the Bruins, who were out-hit .333 to .200.
The second set featured nine ties, but the Rainbow Wahine pulled away late to take a 2-0 match advantage. Trailing 4-2, UCLA scored three straight on two Hawai’i errors and an Aquino solo block. Even at seven, a Reeves kill and a combo block by Lowe and junior Zoë Nightingale made it 9-7, but a pair was the biggest lead for the Bruins in the second set. At 12-11, Hawai’i scored five of the next six to go ahead 16-13. UCLA got three of the next four on kills by Nightingale and Reeves and a Hawai’i attack error to get to within one at 17-16, but the Rainbow Wahine closed out the set with an 8-1 run to win the second 25-17. Reeves led the Bruins with three kills in the second, while Nightingale added three blocks, as UCLA was out-hit .167 to .038.
Trailing 3-1 to start the third set, UCLA scored three in a row on kills by Lowe and Aquino and a combo block by Aquino and sophomore Maddy Klineman to put the visitors up 4-3. With the Bruins up 6-5, the Rainbow Wahine scored three straight to go up 8-6. UCLA tied the score at nine, but a 4-0 Hawai’i run put the home squad ahead 13-9. Down 14-11, the Bruins scored four of five on kills by Nightingale, Aquino, Lowe and Klineman to equal things at 15, but the Rainbow Wahine responded with a 10-3 run to win the third 25-18. Aquino and Reeves each had four kills to lead the Bruins in the third set. UCLA was out-hit .426 to .269.
The Bruins head to the Rocky Mountains next week for the Denver Invitational. UCLA faces Denver on Thursday at 6 p.m. PT, Cal State Northridge on Friday at 3:30 p.m. PT and #19 Creighton on Saturday at 11 a.m. PT.