After losing to Cal State Northridge last week, the UCLA men’s volleyball team fell from second to sixth in this week’s poll. Tonight, the Bruins host the #12 UCSB Gauchos at Pauley Pavilion at 7 pm PT.
Last Time Out
On Saturday night, the Bruins took on Lindenwood as part of their two-match trip to the St. Louis area. As expected, it was a three-set sweep against the Division II school, but it wasn’t necessarily the easy match one might have expected.
In fact, Lindenwood lead for most of the first set and, with the score tied 8-8, the Lions went on a 9-1 run. But UCLA fought back with an 8-2 run as they cut Lindenwood’s lead to just two points. With the Bruins down 23-19, UCLA ran off five consecutive points to take their first lead of the set, 24-23. But, the Lions fought off UCLA’s first set point to tie it back up, 24-24. An attack error by Lindenwood’s Nick Stevenson gave the Bruins their second set point and Austin Matautia’s ace serve sealed the deal, 26-24.
UCLA started the second set with a nice 6-1 run. In fact, the only reason it was a 6-1 run instead of 7-0 is because Micah Ma’a committed a service error for the Lions’ first point of the set. While Lindenwood would pull within two points twice at 11-9 and at 13-11, the Bruins were able to hold the lead for the rest of the set before closing the second set out the same way it began—with a 6-1 run to win this one, 25-17.
In the third and final set, the teams battled it out through the first 34 points with the biggest lead being just three points. With the score 18-16, UCLA, the Bruins went a on quick three-point mini-run. Lindenwood followed with one of their own and it was 21-19, Bruins. UCLA took two of the next three points to extend their lead back to three, 23-20. But the Lions weren’t done yet. They went on another three-point mini-run to tie the set, 23-23. On the next volley, Ma’a set up Daenan Gyimah who gave the Bruins their first match point. Gyimah followed that with a set to Sam Kobrine who killed it to give UCLA the win.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos
Last week, the Gauchos has a home-and-home series with Pepperdine and they lost both matches, 3-2 at home and 3-1 on the road.
That was after starting the season with three consecutive wins against Harvard, Grand Canyon University and Concordia.
UCSB’s best player is senior Corey Chavers. With 60 kills so far this season, Chavers has nearly twice as many kills as freshman Ryan Wilcox, who is second on the team with 31.
Overall, this should be an easy match for the Bruins. There’s a chance, however, that the Gauchos could catch UCLA looking ahead to Saturday’s match against Long Beach State.
So, that makes tonight’s match officially a possible “trap match.” Let’s hope that the Bruins don’t fall into the trap.
This is your UCLA men’s volleyball vs. UCSB open thread.