Lady Bruins Advance in NCAA Volleyball Championships
December 8, 2016
The UCLA women’s volleyball team took one step closer to reaching the NCAA final when it beat Murray State and Baylor last Friday and Saturday in the first and second rounds of the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championships. Both matches were played in Pauley Pavilion on the UCLA campus.
Now the 10th seeded 26-6 Bruins travel to Minneapolis to face the seventh-seeded 29-3 North Carolina Tar Heels on Friday (today) in the NCAA Regionals at 7:45 p.m. The winner of that game will face the winner of between second- seeded 27-4 Minnesota and 15th seeded 27-5 Missouri on Saturday.
“There are so many good teams out there,” said UCLA’s head coach Michael Sealy after their win over Murray State. “There are no easy matches. The teams are tough and all of these girls have been playing volleyball for a long time. In the past the second round started getting tough but now the first round games are really hard.
“It’s a nightmare because the NCAA Tournament has great players and great teams because a lot of schools are getting great players because there are so many club volleyball teams.”
Speaking of great players the Bruins have several but the two who are dominating at their positions right now are 6’1 junior outside hitter Reily Buechler and 5’7 senior Libero Taylor Formico.
Both players were outstanding against Murray State and Baylor. Buechler had 21 kills against Murray State and 13 against Baylor. Formico recorded 26 digs against Murray State and 14 against Baylor.
“There are a lot of physically talented players in college volleyball but Reily and Taylor are physical and they are also strong mentally and emotionally” said Sealy. “ They do a great job and they make things happen.”
Buechler, who comes from an athletic family (her uncle played in the NBA) is the spiritual leader of the team. “I have a connection with my teammates and I try to keep them fired up,” said Buechler. “We all have to spread the energy and keep each other fired up on the court.”