#6 UCLA Men’s Volleyball (14-7)
Opponent: Concordia (17-8)
When: Saturday, March 18, 2017, 7:00 PM PT
Where: John Wooden Center, Los Angeles, CA
Audio: Bruin Live Audio
Streaming Video: UCLA Live Stream
Live Stats: UCLA StatBroadcast
The Bruins easily cleared the first hurdle of the week when they swept Sacred Heart last night. The second and final hurdle of the week comes tonight when UCLA hosts Concordia. If UCLA can beat the Eagles, it will give the Bruins a five game winning streak as they head into their crucial final four conference games. However, with UCLA probably needing to win out to earn serious consideration for an at-large NCAA Tournament bid, the Bruins need to keep their focus on the match at hand. One game at a time.
UCLA had no trouble taking care of business against Sacred Heart, winning in straight sets 25-15, 25-19, 25-15. The Bruins hit .380 for the match while limiting Sacred Heart to a measly ,016 attack percentage. The Bruins weren't nearly as effective from the service line as they had been against Harvard a week ago, but they still managed to collect 6 aces.
Dylan Missry led UCLA in kills with 10 while hitting a blistering .625. Christian Hessenauer was again the beneficiary of Coach Speraw's decision to run a 5-1 offense, and he contributed nine kills, three block assists, and six digs in the Bruins' winning effort.
All-Americans Mitch Stahl and Jake Arnitz continue to work their way back from injuries. Against Sacred Heart, Stahl played in all three sets, hit .500 for the match and collected six kills, an ace, and three blocks. Arnitz played in just two sets but registered five kills while hitting .556.
Junior JT Hatch--currently behind Arnitz and Missry in the OH pecking order--added six kills in a strong performance off the bench.
Concordia shouldn't present much of a challenge for the Bruins this evening. The Eagles have lost twice to UCSD this season, including a 3-1 loss to the Tritons yesterday. For reference, the Tritons are currently in 11th place in the MPSF and have already lost twice to the Bruins in 2017.
Meanwhile, while UCLA has been playing non-conference foes, its position in the MPSF has improved somewhat. The Bruins are now within one game of fourth-place UC Irvine, and should Hawai'i lose to BYU today, the Bruins will be within two games of the third-place Rainbow Warriors. With two games still to play against Hawai'i, the Bruins can dramatically improve their post-season résumé with an undefeated run through the end of the season.
The first step in that undefeated run has to start tonight against Concordia. In spite of their current four game winning streak, the Bruins still have no margin for error.