UCLA has lost four of its last five matches including a three-set sweep on Saturday against BYU.
As a result, the Bruin men’s volleyball team has dropped from #2 in the country to #5 after Saturday’s loss.
In Provo on Saturday, UCLA was swept 23-25, 21-25, 20-25 by the Cougars. UCLA’s hitting percentage was more than 100 points lower than BYU at just .214 for the match. For that matter, UCLA’s hitting percentage was almost 100 points lower than BYU in each of the three sets.
Despite that, the first set was actually tied at 21-21, but BYU ran offwith four of the final six points to win the set 25-23. In the second set, the last tie occurred at 15-15, but the Bruins only trailed by one at 18-17 and, again, at 20-19. Again, the Cougars closed big by scoring five of the final seven points to win the set. The third set was probably the least competitive set of the three. The last tie was at 14-14, but BYU went on a 4-0 run to take an 18-14 lead and they never looked back as UCLA could only close the gap to two at 19-17. From that point, BYU went on to take six of the last nine points to finish off the sweep.
While Micah Ma’a had 29 assists, no Bruin had double-digits in kills. Overall, it was just a poor effort by the Bruins.
Meanwhile, twelve days ago, the Bruins drove out to Malibu to face the Waves and UCLA got swept by Pepperdine. Tonight, the Bruins need to take some revenge for a few reasons.
First, Pepperdine is ranked seventh in the nation. A loss at home could potentially drop UCLA out of the top ten.
Second, tonight’s match matters because UCLA is currently tied with Pepperdine for second in the MPSF and a loss tonight will drop them into third behind the Waves and BYU.
More than anything, the Bruins just need to stop the bleeding. Since February 17th, the team has been in a complete tailspin and, if John Speraw hopes to lead this team into the NCAA Tournament, Speraw and UCLA need to start winning matches over the tough teams on their schedule.
It has to start tonight at home against the #7 Waves.
This is your UCLA Bruins vs. Pepperdine Waves men’s volleyball open thread.