On Friday night, UCLA was supposed to have an easy match against winless McKendree and, for the most part, they did. The Bruins swept the Bearcats in three sets, but the Bearcats put up more of a fight than expected. UCLA ended up winning 25-21, 25-22 and 29-27.
The Bearcats jumped out to an 11-4 lead in the first set to start the match, but then UCLA went on a 7-1 run to close McKendree’s lead to one point, 12-11. The teams split the next two points and the Bearcats added two more to increase their lead back to three, 15-12. Another 7-1 UCLA run finally gave the Bruins a lead. McKendree was unable to come back after that.
McKendree came out strong in the second set as well by winning three of the first four points of the set and the Bearcats stayed tough. While they wouldn’t take the lead again, there were six tie scores in the set. The critical point proved to come with the score tied at 13-13. That’s when a McKendree attack error gave the Bruins the lead for good as UCLA used an 8-3 run to take a 21-16 lead. The Bruins didn’t lead the Bearcats get any closer than 2 points for the rest of the set as they went on to win 25-22.
The third set was the toughest of the match. Neither team ever led by more than two points and the set was a constant back-and-forth battle. It was such a hard-fought set that it took more the usual 25 points to win. Four times on match point, the Bearcats battled back to tie the set. Finally on UCLA’s fifth match point, McKendree committed an attack error and the Bruins closed out the set and the match.
Tonight, it’s an early-season Top 5 matchup between the Bruins and the UC Irvine Anteaters at Pauley. While it’s only the second week of the season, this match should give Bruin fans a good look into how good this year’s team will be.
This is your UCLA vs. UC Irvine Men’s Volleyball open thread.