No. 2 UCLA faces unranked Princeton at home before a tough road game against #4 UC Irvine. UCLA is coming off a closely contested double header with #3 Hawaii. UCLA suffered its first loss of the season in the first game but would come back two days later to grab a 3-1 victory in Honolulu. The Bruins victory was led by Senior Opposite Christian Hessenhauer who led the game with 20 kills.
This closely contested battle with arguably the strongest team in the nation is an inevitable draw. Despite their first loss UCLA remains the No. 2 team in the country, trailing behind only undefeated Long Beach State. Its safe to say that UCLA has exceeded preseason expectations, winning 25 of 34 sets and having the best start to a season in recent memory.
Princeton Scouting Report
The team is led by 6-11 Sophomore Blocker George Huhmann, a member of the Junior National team who led his Conference in hitting percentage last year. The Princeton lineup also boasts a talented Outside hitter in Parker Dixon, who combined with Huhmann last year for 480 kills.
Princeton will likely be playing without its second best player as defensive superstar Junior Oboh has been nursing an injury for several months. Oboh returned to the lineup for Princeton’s game with UCSD but didn’t look one hundred percent.
In terms of performance Princeton is perhaps the polar opposite of UCLA. They’ve lost nine straight sets (they’ve won less than 20% of sets this season) and have a record of 1-5, the only bright spot being a 3-2 upset win over #8 Stanford.
Princeton’s main problem has been a lack of offensive chemistry and an inability to close games. The loss of a strong Senior class which included Setter Jonah May and the injury to Oboh has left Princeton’s offense a duck without wings.
Princeton has a couple of great players, but UCLA has all great players. After two hard-fought battles with Hawaii its hard to imagine Princeton being anything more than a warmup game for UC Irvine.
UCLA 3, Princeton 0