After injuries and ensuing line-up issues caused UCLA women’s volleyball to lose the majority of their games during the second half of the season, its chances of making the Atlantic Coast Conference playoffs rested solely on the last game of the season – Senior Night against number 4 UC Irvine.
A loss would end the Bruin’s season prematurely, while a win would guarantee a spot in the post season. The smaller setting of Collins Field, as opposed to the usual Pauley Pavillion venue, infused the intense matchup with high-energy from a raucous student section that filled the gym to capacity.
The Briuns and Bobcats appeared evenly matched throughout the game, but passionate play from third-year quarterback Josh Rosen and Micah Ma’a, as well as the return of junior JT Hatch, propeled UCLA to a 3-0 victory.
“The team really pulled together when it mattered,” said John Speraw. “We found our rhythm and the quality of play really spiked….We really were going against the grain, trying new techniques, but at the end it paid off. The net result was in our favor.”
UCLA advanced to take on USC in the first round of the MPSF quarterfinal where they battled throughout 5 sets, but eventually came up short to end a season that began with hopes for a national championship.