The UCLA Men’s Volleyball team dropped a match they should have won on Saturday when they played Southern Cal. Instead, the unranked Trojans beat the Bruins in five sets, 25-18, 23-25, 23-25, 25-19, 11-15.
As a result, the Bruins may now need to win the MPSF Tournament to qualify for the NCAA Tournament due to the fact that there are only a total of six teams that qualify and the number of at-large bids is very limited.
UCLA can still tie BYU for the MPSF regular season title if the Cougars lose to Pepperdine tonight and the Bruins defeat both Stanford tonight and BYU on Saturday. Right now, UCLA is tied for second in the MPSF with Pepperdine and there could be a three-way tie for first if Pepperdine and UCLA both defeat Stanford and BYU.
But, before the Bruins can start thinking about winning a share of the title, they will need to beat the Cardinal tonight and, in order to do that, they need to play better than they did on Saturday against Southern Cal.
The match on Saturday started off just fine. UCLA won the first set, 25-18. The second set is where things started to go wrong for the Bruins.
With the score tied 15-15, the Trojans went on a 5-1 run that put them up 20-16. UCLA managed to go on a 5-2 lead of their own to close the deficit to 22-21. The teams split the next four points, giving Southern Cal a set point at 24-23. Unfortunately, UCLA lost the next point and the set, 25-23.
In the third set, the Bruins trailed for most of the set. Trailing 16-13, UCLA went on a 5-1 run to take their first lead of the set, 18-17. Four points later, the Bruins were still up by one, 20-19. But, over the final nine points, Southern Cal doubled up UCLA, scoring six points to the Bruins’ three and winning the set for the Trojans.
The Bruins won the fourth set, 25-19, to tie the match up and force a fifth set. The fifth set belonged to the Trojans. UCLA just had a .100 hitting percentage in the fifth set with 6 kills and 4 attack errors. The Bruins took an early 6-5 lead in the set, but Southern Cal’s 6-1 run gave the Trojans a lead UCLA could not come back from as the Trojans won the fifth set 15-11.
Thankfully, Saturday’s match was UCLA’s last road match of the season and, now, they finish out with two matches at home. Hopefully, the Bruins have some fight in them as they are likely to need it between now and Saturday.
This is your UCLA vs. Stanford men’s volleyball open thread.