Top-ranked UCLA won the NCAA Division I women's volleyball championship Saturday night, getting 12 kills apiece from Marissa Hatchett and Natalie Williams in a three-game sweep of the University of the Pacific.
The Bruins, who last won the title in 1984, captured the first seven points of the match and stayed in control throughout a 15-9, 15-12, 15-7 victory. The UCLA front-line of Hatchett, Williams and Samantha Shaver frustrated Pacific throughout the match, both offensively and defensively.The Bruins notched 16 points with Traci Broadway serving and Hatchett, Williams and Shaver on the net. Pacific's Krissy Fifer, who had 21 kills in the Tigers' semifinal victory over Nebraska, had only 13 against the Bruins.
UCLA finished 36-1, losing only to Nebraska on Sept. 6. Pacific (30-7) was foiled in its bid to capture its third title since 1985.
With Broadway serving to open the match, UCLA took a quick 6-0 lead and made it 7-0 when Williams followed her own serve with a kill. Pacific, meanwhile, had trouble penetrating the Bruins' blocks and got only one kill from Fifer in the entire game.
The Tigers fought back from the early deficit to close within 12-8, but UCLA picked up two points on consecutive net violations and ultimately made good on its third game point when Pacific's Sharon Kasser blasted a kill attempt wide.
In the second game, the Bruins pulled out of a 12-12 deadlock to take a 2-0 lead. UCLA got five kills from Hatchett and five points with Broadway serving.
Down 5-4, the Bruins got four straight points with Broadway serving. Hatchett got two straight blocks, the Tigers had a mishit, and Broadway capped the run with an ace.
The Bruins eventually worked their lead to 12-8 before Pacific made a run with four straight points. But UCLA refused to yield, and eventually wrapped up the game when the Tigers' Katy Eldridge was long on a kill attempt.
The final game was strikingly similar to the first. Broadway got the opening two points on her serve and the Bruins ultimately grabbed a 6-0 lead. Match point came on UCLA's fourth attempt at converting a game point, as a block by Pacific's Kasser and Heather Schoeny rocketed out of bounds.
Williams was voted the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament, and she and three of her teammates - Hatchett, Jenny Evans and Holly McPeak - were named to the All-Tournament team.