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Bruin Women Beat Waves in Volleyball

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Some have said UCLA isn’t the dominating women’s volleyball team it was last season, but you’d have a hard time convincing the Bruins’ last six opponents. None have won as much as a game.

Pepperdine became the latest victim of the UCLA’s late-season charge, losing a first-round NCAA West Regional match Friday night before 782 at UCLA’s Wooden Center, 15-3, 15-8, 15-11.

“We played better than we did two weeks ago, so . . . ,” Pepperdine Coach Nina Matthies said, referring to the fact that the Waves, who have not advanced past the first round in nine appearances, didn’t fare any better this time around.

The defending NCAA champion Bruins, 27-5 and ranked No. 6, will face New Mexico Thursday, probably at Stanford. New Mexico defeated Washington State, 15-5, 11-15, 15-9, 15-4, Friday night.

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“We’re right where we want to be,” Natalie Williams said.

After dropping the first two points against Pepperdine, the Bruins rolled off nine in a row before Pepperdine’s Cari Delson hit one across the floor for the Waves’ third and final point.

No. 15 Pepperdine (23-8) threatened to take the match to a fourth game, able to hit through the Bruin blockers en route to an 11-8 lead.

But the Bruins took a time out and took control thereafter, with kills and blocks by six different players, capped by an ace for the match by backup setter Jennifer Gratteau.

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UCLA, showing a vastly superior and more powerful front line, held the Waves to a .123 hitting percentage and mounted a balanced attack of its own, with three players scoring in double figures in kills--Williams, freshman Annett Buckner and Lisa Hudak.


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