Compared to Wednesday night’s match, tonight’s match should be much easier for the Bruins. That’s because UCLA will play host to the unranked George Mason Patriots tonight at 7 pm in Pauley Pavilion.
The Patriots are 10-8 so far this season. Their biggest wins of the year came about a month ago when they beat then-#14 Ball State and two weeks ago when they beat then-#7 Penn State, but all eight of their losses came to ranked teams. So, the Patriots are 2-8 versus ranked teams.
So, the probability of a Bruin win tonight is probably closer to 90 or 95%.
However, Wednesday night’s match was nowhere close to the certainty. The Bruins entered Wednesday’s match having lost four of their last five and that included a three-set sweep by Pepperdine.
But, the Bruins got their revenge winning the match in four sets, 25-17, 17-25, 26-24, 25-17. Overall, UCLA cut down on the number of errors they made in the match and the Bruins’ hitting percentages reflected that. In the first set, UCLA outhit the Waves, .538 to .200. The Waves took a very early 2-1 lead in this set, but the Bruins went on an 8-3 run and never looked back. UCLA went on to win the set, 25-17.
The Waves outhit the Bruins in set two, .467 to .190, and UCLA’s hitting errors would cost them the set. The Bruins’ only lead in this set came at 3-2, but the Waves would tie it on the next point while a bad set from Micah Ma’a gave Pepperdine a 4-3 lead that UCLA could not recover from as the Waves flipped the first set score of 25-17 in their favor to tie the match up at one set each.
The Bruins only made 2 hitting errors in the third set and, as a result, they outhit the Waves .429 to .357. This set was much more of a back-and-forth battle. Pepperdine’s biggest lead of this set was just 3 while UCLA’s was never more than one, but with UCLA trailing 17-16, the Bruins won a pair of consecutive points to take the lead. From that point on the teams alternated points until UCLA, with the score tied at 24-24, broke through to score two points and win the set.
UCLA had the early lead in set four as the Bruins tried to finish off the Waves and they jumped out to a quick 5-2 lead. With the Bruins still ahead 7-6, UCLA started a big run. First, it was a 5-0 run. That turned into an 8-1 run and UCLA, once again, had a comfortable lead, 15-7. Of course, the Bruins didn’t look back as they won the set, 25-17, and the match 3-1.
Daenan Gyimah lead all players with 17 kills while Jake Arnitz and Christian Hessenauer each added 13. Micah Ma’a posted the only double-double of the day with 41 kills and 11 digs.
This is your UCLA Bruins vs. George Mason Patriots men’s volleyball open thread.