When: Saturday, March 1, 9 PM PST
Where: Stan Sheriff Center, Honolulu
Listen: NBC Sports Radio Honolulu
Watch: OCSports UH Live Stream
Yesterday's loss to the Warriors was extremely disappointing. It may not be the worst match the Bruins have played this season, but it definitely is a contender. UCLA opened the match without the energy and focus that has characterized the team for most of the season. Every member of the team that played last night shares some responsibility for the loss; for example, although Gonzalo Quiroga was efficient in attack, he didn't serve as well as he normally does and committed serving errors in crucial situations late in two of the sets.
With the loss, the Bruins are no longer in control of a potential path to the conference title. BYU plays Pepperdine tonight, so UCLA can recover some lost ground with a victory against the Warriors, but in all likelihood, the Bruins will have to win out to claim the conference title. That means that UCLA will need to defeat title contenders Long Beach State, Pepperdine, and BYU twice in order to have any chance of hosting the conference tournament.
One of the problems with the UCLA attack that the Warriors exposed last night is the Bruins' over-dependence on outside hitters Quiroga and Page. Coach Speraw will either have to make sure that Spencer Rowe and Trent Kersten are utilized more frequently in attack or that the attack options for Quiroga and Page are less predictable. The other improvement we need to see from Coach Speraw's squad is an increase in serving pressure from the jump float servers. At the moment, our jump float serves are too soft, making it far too easy for the opposition to deliver a good pass to the setter, thereby enabling a wide variety of attacking options.
This is a must-win match. The Bruins need to get off to a good start, win the first set, and put away the Warriors without any problems. With a difficult road match against UCSB coming up next, the Bruins will want to leave Hawai'i with a bit of momentum.
The official preview is here.