The #4 UCLA men’s volleyball team will put their a five-match winning streak up on the line up the coast tonight when the Bruins visit the #6 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at 7 pm PT.
Last Time Out
On Saturday, the Bruins won their second MPSF match of the season when they defeated BYU in four sets, 16-25, 25-14, 25-19, 25-18. The win moved the Bruins to 2-0 in conference play. Austin Matautia led the Bruins with 13 kills. Micah Ma’a led UCLA with 20 assists while Adam Parks added 15 more. Parks also led the team with 9 digs.
Overall, the Bruins had a pretty low hitting percentage of .229 for the match. Thankfully, the Cougars hitting percentage was worse at .118.
In the first set, the Bruins had trouble scoring on consecutive volleys. They were only able to put together two consecutive points twice in the entire set. First, they did it with the score 4-1, BYU, to cut the lead to just a point, but the second time didn’t come until BYU’s first set point with the score 24-14. The inability to score a consecutive points cost the Bruins the first set, 25-16.
UCLA didn’t have that problem in the second set. With the score 2-1, BYU, the Bruins rattled off five consecutive points as part of a 10-2 run which gave UCLA a 11-4 lead. The closest the Cougars would get in set two was four points down at 14-10, but a 6-0 Bruin run put the set out of reach 20-10. UCLA went on to win this set 25-14.
In the third set, a 5-0 run by UCLA when they were down 5-4 flipped the tables and paved the way for the Bruins to win their second set of the night as the Cougars had trouble scoring on consecutive volleys until it was too late. The Bruins took this one, 25-19.
The fourth set was close early, but, with the score tied 6-6, the Bruins went on a 5-1 run that BYU couldn’t recover from. The Cougars were able to get as close as two points twice, but that was the best they could as UCLA responded each time by extending their lead back to five points the first time and six points the second time. Ultimately, the Bruins won the set by seven 25-18 to win the match three sets to one.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos
Tonight’s match against the Gauchos is the second part of a home-and-home series the Gauchos and the Bruins will play this season. Last month, UCLA swept the Gauchos in three sets at home. Tonight, UCSB hosts the match.
Since the teams met in January, the Gauchos have won all eight of their matches, including a pair of matches at home against BYU and neutral site games against both Penn State and Ohio State.
Tonight’s match should be another easy one for UCLA. They may not sweep tonight, but that’s just because the Gauchos are at home. So, my prediction for tonight is a 3-1 win for UCLA.