After nearly a two-week layoff due to Winter Finals and Spring Break, the UCLA Men’s Volleyball team returns to action tonight against the UCSB Gauchos.
Tonight’s game is a makeup game, which was originally scheduled to be played back on January 12th, but was postponed due to the mudslides which had closed the 101 Freeway creating transportation issues for the Gauchos.
Two weeks ago, the UCLA Men’s Volleyball team swept Concordia University in three sets, 25-22, 25-15, 25-19. Then, two nights later, the Bruins faced Grand Canyon University and beat the Antelopes, 3-1, in four sets, 25-15, 25-20, 22-25, 25-21.
In the first set, the teams battled back and forth early and the Lopes led 6-5. That’s when the Bruins went on a 7-2 run to take the lead. The teams alternated scoring on the next nine points and UCLA led 16-13. A 9-2 run by the Bruins ended the first set.
The teams split the first ten points of set two, but UCLA used a 4-1 run to take the lead, 9-6, as the Bruins took the lead for good. GCU had their share of opportunities in this set, They narrowed the UCLA lead to just two on nine different occasions, but each time the Antelopes drew close, the Bruins came back and scored the next point. The last chance for GCU came at 21-19 because, after that, UCLA went on another 4-1 run to finish off the set, 25-20.
The third set saw the teams alternate scoring after the Bruins scored the first point of the set. With it tied at 3-3, UCLA scored the next two points, but the team’s again alternated scoring on the next six points and the Bruins had an 8-6 lead. GCU used a 5-0 run to make it 11-8. After a 4-1 Bruin run that tied it 12-12, GCU went on a 4-0 run of their own. With the Antelopes ahead 18-14, the Bruins fought back with a 4-1 run to cut the lead back to just one and UCLA would tie the game back up at 21-21. But the Antelopes finished the set off with a 4-1 run to take the third set, 25-22.
With the score tied 6-6 in the fourth set, Grand Canyon scored twice to jump ahead. However, a 12-3 run gave UCLA a 18-11 lead. The Bruins stopped a 3-0 mini-run by GCU with a 4-1 run themselves and it was 22-15, UCLA. Yet, GCU had one last 4-1 run in them and closed the Bruins’ lead to just 3 at 23-20. The Antelopes couldn’t get any closer, though, as Dylan Missry and Christian Hessenauer closed out the set and the match for the Bruins.
UCLA played really well in the first two sets of this match as they only had a total of three attack errors in the two sets combined. The Bruins hit .450 and .565 in these sets, respectively. But, the third set was ugly as UCLA committed 7 attack errors and only hit .182 in the set. UCLA played a little better in the fourth set, where they had a .294 hitting percentage.
Hessenauer led UCLA with 16 kills while Jake Arnitz had 12 and Missry had 10. Micah Ma’a led the Bruins with 47 assists. While no Bruin was in double-figures in digs, Hessenauer had 8.
Tonight’s match should be a tune-up prior to Saturday’s match against crosstown rival Southern Cal and should allow the Bruins to shake off nearly two weeks’ worth of rust. The 9-7 Gauchos shouldn’t pose much of a threat for the Bruins and I expect UCLA to sweep this match.
This is UCLA’s final non-conference match of the season. All remaining matches will be against MPSF foes.
This is your UCLA Bruins vs. UCSB Gauchos men’s volleyball open thread.