When: Sunday, February 23, 3 PM PST
Where: Alex G. Spanos Center, Stockton
Watch: Campus Insiders
Third ranked UCLA squares off against unranked Pacific today in the first game of a two game MPSF road trip to northern California. The Bruins will face a resurgent Stanford squad tomorrow evening before returning home to prepare for a trip to Honolulu to face #11 Hawai'i in a pair of matches Friday and Saturday. Today's game against Pacific (2-12, 1-10) marks Coach Speraw's last chance to experiment with his lineup before the Bruins (11-3, 8-2) will be put to the test in some of their toughest road games of the season.
Against Cal State Northridge, Coach Speraw gave several players an opportunity to show what they can do. Freshman Hagen Smith got his first start at setter and played exceptionally well. Freshman libero Grant Chalmers earned the first start of his collegiate career and performed admirably. Redshirt junior Clayton Paullin was given a rare start at middle blocker for the Bruins, and as he's done in the past when called upon, he delivered a solid performance. One of the many things that makes Coach Speraw such a fantastic coach is that he gives his players genuine opportunities to compete. If only Steve Alford had that same sense of responsibility to his players.
Pacific's men's volleyball program is in the difficult position of knowing that this is its final year of existence in the MPSF. To the extent that there will be men's volleyball at Pacific next year, it will be as a self-funding club team. As we've seen with other west coast men's volleyball programs with a history of competing at the highest level, budget considerations seem to hit volleyball teams particularly hard. Since this will be UCLA's final road game against Pacific, let's hope it will be memorable with a dominant performance from start to finish.
The official preview is here.