Wednesday night’s match proved to be exactly what I thought it would be: a three-set tune-up match to help the Bruins prepare for facing Southern Cal tonight at the Galen Center.
Tonight should be another tune-up match for the Bruins as they face Trojans. Southern Cal has not had a very good season this year. They are 6-17 overall and 2-7 in the MPSF. They are currently tied for last in the MPSF with Stanford below even newcomers Concordia and GCU.
Wednesday night, the Bruins swept the Gauchos, 25-22, 25-15, 25-18. UCLA played one of its best matches of the season as they only made seven attack errors across all three sets and their hitting percentage in each set was .526, .304 and .522, respectively.
Christian Hessenauer led the Bruins with 11 kills while Jake Arnitz had 8 and Dylan Missry added 7. In a somewhat unusual match, Micah Ma’a only had 28 assists. Daenan Gyimah had 7 blocks in the match while JT Hatch led UCLA with 7 digs.
Believe it or not, UCLA trailed for most of the first set. It wasn’t until the game was tied 20-20 that the Bruins were able to break through. The team scored five of the last seven points to win the set 25-22.
The first half of the second set was also hard fought despite the fact that UCLA jumped out to a quick 7-1 lead. UCSB came back and got within one at 13-12 before the Bruins went on a 12-3 run to finish the Gauchos off in the second set.
In the third, UCLA took a 3-0 lead and, while the Gauchos closed that lead to 3-2, that would be the only time they’d get that close. A 5-1 Bruin run made it 8-3. UC Santa Barbara would close that gap to just two points at 12-10. But UCLA scored their final 13 points while only allowing UCSB to score 8 the rest of the way and the Bruins won the third set, 25-18, and the match, 3-0.
Tonight, there are 5 Crosstown Cup points at stake for the winner. UCLA currently leads this year’s competition, 75-35.
This is your UCLA Bruins vs. Southern Cal Trojans men’s volleyball open thread.