UCLA Men's Volleyball Pulls Off Stunning Upset Of #1 Ranked Matadors in Five Sets

Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N

via the official UCLA site

The UCLA Men's Volleyball team came back from behind and outlasted the #1 Cal State Northridge Matadors in five sets to take the match, 27-30, 28-30, 30-28, 30-14, 15-12. After five road matches in a row, the Bruins came home to start an eight-game home stand tonight at Pauley.

UCLA scored first with a kill by senior Garrett Muagututia. But the Matadors star player Jacek Ratajczak countered with a kill of his own, and raised the ante with a service ace. Bruins continued to deal attacks by Muagututia, RS sophomore Jack Polales, senior Kevin Ker, and sophomore Thomas Amberg. CSUN kept pace, however, with kills by Ratajczak and Kevin McKniff and, unfortunately, service and attack errors by the Bruins. Kills and blocks gave the Matadors a four-point lead at 11-14. Attacks by Polales and sophomore Nick Vogel kept the Bruins hanging on, but the Matadors continued to rack up points with their kills and UCLA errors up to 16-24. Polales continued to knock in kills and RS junior Dylan Bowermaster and Amberg set up some blocks, but the Bruins continued to trail, 19-28. The Bruins recorded two 4-0 runs to narrow the lead to two at 27-29, but a Bruin service error handed the set to CSUN, 27-30.

Looking to even the score, the Bruins jumped ahead in the second set to a 3-0 lead. Polales, Vogel and Muagututia knocked in multiple kills and the Bruins put up several blocks but they could never quite shake the Matadors off. CSUN errors contributed to a 21-16 lead by the Bruins, but Ratajczak and the rest of the team rallied back to even the score at 24-24. Multiple kills by Matadors Tanner Nua, Theo Edwards and Ratajczak, combined with UCLA errors, allowed CSUN to take the lead and run with it until Matador Mike Gaudino nailed in a kill to take the set, 28-30.

Down by two sets, UCLA started off the third set with a kill by Polales, but allowed CSUN to take the lead back. Kills by Amberg, Vogel and RS sophomore Jeremy Casebeer brought the Bruins back to tie the score at 10 each, then both teams traded sideouts until UCLA began to pull away with a 4-0 run to take the lead at 26-22. In a now-familiar tune, CSUN kills and UCLA errors allowed the Matadors to catch up to 28-28. Polales smashed a key attack and a CSUN error gave UCLA the first set of the match, 30-28.

UCLA came out with the big guns in set four.

The Bruins put up a successful block to take the first point of the set. UCLA's offense then caught fire and multiple kills and blocks were recorded by Polales, Vogel, Amberg and sophomore Kyle Caldwell, giving the Bruins a big lead and letting them keep it all the way up to 26-10. Three Bruin errors seemed to give the Matadors the chance to catch up but the Bruins quickly closed that door with a block by Amberg and Casebeer, taking the set 30-14.

With two sets a piece, the Bruins and Matadors head into set five, which is played until one team scores 15 points. UCLA started the set with an attack error, but Polales recovered it with a kill. Both teams suffered from errors but a service ace by freshman Chen Levitan and kills by Polales, Vogel and Muagututia allowed the Bruins to maintain a lead. They were also able to keep the Matadors from recording multiple kills, and the Bruins scratched out a 11-6 lead. Although UCLA wasn't free of errors and the Matadors did sneak in several kills, the Bruins were able to counter each with kills by Polales, Muagututia and Amberg. CSUN went on a 3-0 run and a 2-0 run toward the end but it wasn't quite enough, as the Bruins too the set and match with a kill by Caldwell, 15-12.

Polales led the Bruins with a stunning 20 kills, while Vogel, Muagututia and Amberg also recorded double-digit kills each. The Bruins' 0.270 attack percentage wasn't anything to write home about but the important thing was that they held the Matadors to 0.164, even though CSUN averaged 0.297 coming into this match. UCLA also outscored CSUN on service aces with 7 to their 2. UCLA recorded 19 team blocks while CSUN recorded 11.5. Although they fell behind, UCLA was able to make adjustments and come back from behind to take down the #1 team in the nation.

With this win, UCLA's record improves to 9-6 overall, 8-4 in conference play. CSUN's record falls to 11-4 (8-4). Two of CSUN's four losses this season were dealt by the Bruins. UCLA will next host #14 UC San Diego on Wednesday, February 24th. First serve will be at 7 pm.

Congrats also to the softball team who routed CSUN and Cal Poly, and the baseball team who crushed Southern in the season opener. Good day for UCLA athletics today. Go Bruins!

<em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.</em>

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