Love, UCLA win volleyball championship

by Charlie Armitz

There’s a new champion in college volleyball — UCLA. The Bruins defeated Illinois in four sets in Saturday night’s Division I national championship to win their first title since 1991.

Former Gophers player Tabi Love had 14 kills and hit .294 for UCLA. She was one of the Bruins’ most consistent players throughout their tournament run, which also featured upsets of four-time defending champion Penn State and top-seeded Texas.

Rachael Kidder led UCLA with 20 kills in 71 swings.

Sara Sage, whose kill from the middle won the match, had six kills in seven swings in the fourth set — the only set in which she saw court time.

After blowing a 21-15 lead to lose the second set, the Bruins saved two set points in the third set and eventually won the set 26-24. They jumped ahead early in the fourth set and never looked back in a 25-23, 23-25, 26-24, 25-16 win.

UCLA had no service errors in the match, while Illinois had 11.

Illinois lost in its first-ever national championship appearance. The Illini will graduate their top two players — Colleen Ward and Michelle Bartsch — after this season.