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UCLA Men’s Volleyball Aims To Stay Atop the MPSF against UCSD

After opening the 2017 MPSF season on Thursday night with a victory against #7 UC Irvine, the second-ranked Bruins host the winless Tritons tonight.

#2 UCLA Men’s Volleyball (3-1, 1-0)

Opponent: UC San Diego (0-3, 0-2)

When: Saturday, January 14, 2017, 7:00 PM PT

Where: Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, CA

TV: Pac-12 Networks Los Angeles

Audio: Bruins Live Audio

Video Stream: Pac-12 Network

Live Stats: UCLA StatBroadcast

Official Match Preview

On Thursday night the Bruins took care of business when they rebounded from a tough loss and swept the seventh-ranked Anteaters to open their 2017 MPSF campaign. Given how competitive the MPSF is this year, every conference win is absolutely crucial, and that's why the Bruins need to maintain their focus when the host the Triton this evening. UCSD may be winless and unranked, but losing a match to the Tritons would be a serious blow to the Bruins' title hopes.

UCLA (3-1, 1-0) looked confident and in good early season form against UC Irvine on Thursday. The Bruins jumped out to an early lead in set 1 and never looked back. UCLA nearly doubled UCI's attack percentage for the match (.395 to .216), and registered less than half as many errors. It may not have been a thoroughly dominating performance against a very good opponent, but it was nearly so.

Freshman middle blocker Daenan Gyimah continued his remarkable start to UCLA career. Against the Anteaters, Gyimah led all attackers with 14 kills without error, posting an impressive .737 hitting percentage in the process. Gyimah also added a pair of aces. Sophomore All-American Micah Ma'a was equally outstanding, contributing 8 kills without error (.800 hitting percentage), 17 assists, 3 aces and 7 digs. Jackson Bantle, making a rare start as the Bruins' libero, also tallied 7 digs.

The official site has a good set of highlights from the victory.

The Tritons (0-3, 0-2) are winless so far this season, and frankly haven't looked competitive in their first two MPSF matches. On Friday, UCSD was swept by #12 UC Santa Barbara. The consensus of those who follow MPSF volleyball seems to be that the Tritons are destined for another last place conference finish. As remarkable as Southern Cal's MPSF-opening upset of #3 Long Beach State was, a Triton upset of the Bruins would be several orders of magnitude more remarkable. In my estimation, it won't happen tonight.

As I've mentioned in previous match previews, Coach Speraw is committed to giving opportunities to his bench players. Therefore, don't be surprised to see someone like sophomore Dylan Missry earn a start tonight. But whoever takes the court for the Bruins this evening, the end result should be the same--a sweep for UCLA.