The UCLA Men’s Volleyball team took care of business quickly tonight against Stanford. The Bruins swept the Cardinal in three sets, 25-19, 25-15, 25-18.
UCLA began the first set by scoring 6 of the first 8 points, grabbing an early 4-point lead. That proved to be enough as the closest Stanford got to tying the set was a 2-point deficit at 7-5 and at 14-12. The Cardinal were only able to score on consecutive points three times in this set and never for more than two points in a row. UCLA outhit Stanford .524 to just .208 as they only made one attack error in the set.
The second set was a little bit of a tougher challenge for the Bruins, at least through the first 14 points, as the teams were tied 7-7. But, then, UCLA rose to the occasion by scoring 5 of the next 6 points to jump ahead 12-8. With the score 15-12, the Bruins went on a big 10-3 run to close out the second set. While the Bruins made 4 attack errors in the set and saw their hitting percentage drop to .278 in this one, Stanford played even worse. The Cardinal had 11 attack errors to just 6 kills for a -.217 hitting percentage.
UCLA used a 5-0 run in the third set to set up the sweep. With the score tied 8-8, the Bruins went on their run and never looked back. The closest Stanford would get after that run would be three points down on six different occasions, but they couldn’t break through and close the gap any more. So, with the score 18-15, UCLA went on a 4-0 run that slammed the door.
UCLA outhit Stanford .333 to .174 in this set and .389 to ,074 for the match.
Micah Ma’a was the only Bruin in double figures with 24 assists. He also led the team with 5 digs. Christian Hessenauer led the team in kills tonight with 8 while Dylan Missry added 7 and Daelan Gyimah had 6.
In other MPSF Tournament action, 6th-seeded Southern Cal upset the 3rd-seeded Pepperdine Waves in four sets in Malibu. In the other quarterfinal, the 4 seed Concordia Eagles swept the 5 seed GCU Antelopes.
This sets up a semifinal match for UCLA against Concordia on Thursday at 5:30 pm PT while Southern Cal will face top-seeded BYU on Thursday at 8 pm PT because, as the top seed, the Cougars play the lowest remaining seed which is the Trojans.
That’s certainly a more favorable semifinal matchup for the Bruins than anticipated as UCLA would have faced Pepperdine if the Waves had won. Going into tonight, the Waves were ranked fifth in the country and had actually beaten UCLA in Malibu earlier in the season.
Now, instead, the Bruins draw the Concordia Eagles whom they swept twice. At the same time, looking ahead to the potential MPSF Championship matchup, if UCLA beats Concordia, they will face the winner of BYU-Southern Cal, meaning that the Bruins would have to beat a team they lost to on the road, regardless of which team wins, even if Southern Cal would be the easier game on paper.