This evening, the #5 UCLA men’s volleyball team will conclude its three-match road trip when the Bruins visit the #10 Lewis University Flyers at 5 pm PT.
Last Time Out
On Thursday night, the Bruins visited #7 Loyola-Chicago and defeated the Ramblers in four sets, 27-25, 23-25, 25-21, 25-23. Daenan Gyimah led the Bruins with 18 kills while Brandon Rattray and Dylan Missry each had 11. Micah Ma’a led UCLA, as usual, with 46 assists. Ma’a and Rattray each had seven digs in the match.
The match didn’t start out well for the Bruins. Loyola scored the first six points of the match, forcing UCLA to play catch-up in the first set from the get-go. The Bruins weren’t able to put together a run bigger than three consecutive points for much of the set and they soon found themselves trailing 19-13, but that’s when UCLA broke through with a 7-0 run to take a one-point lead, 20-19. Six points later, it was tied 23-23 when a Loyola attack error gave UCLA their first set point, but consecutive points for the Ramblers gave them their first set point at 25-24. A kill from Ma’a tied it back up and a Loyola service error gave the Bruins their second set point. On the ensuing volley, Ma’a fed Austin Matautia who killed it and UCLA won the first set, 27-25.
In the second set, Loyola scored first as the teams alternated scoring on the first six points to tie it at 3-3. Three consecutive points put the Ramblers up for good in this set, although the Bruins tried to mount a late comeback at 24-20 by scoring thee consecutive points, closing the gap to 24-23. But it was too little, too late as Loyola broke through on their fourth set point to win the set 25-23.
Four early service errors resulted in UCLA falling behind 6-5 in the third set. A 4-1 run put the Bruins up 9-7, but the Ramblers went on a 6-2 run of their own to re-take the lead, 13-11. A 7-2 run by UCLA put the Bruins ahead for good as they took an 18-15 lead. The teams started alternating points at this point, giving UCLA a 23-20 lead. At that point, a Rambler attack error gave the Bruins their first set point of this set, 24-20. Loyola managed to avoid losing the set once, but then Ma’a finished off the set for UCLA as the Bruins took this one 25-21 to go up two sets to one.
Both teams battled in the fourth set with neither team leading by more than two points for much of the set. With Loyola ahead 16-14, the Ramblers were able to extend their lead to four by scoring the next two points. But UCLA went on a 6-2 run to tie the set back up at 20-20. Four points later, it was still tied 22-22. A Rattray kill and a Loyola attack error gave UCLA their first match point, but the Ramblers staved off elimination on the next volley before Will Tischler committed an attack error that won the match for the Bruins, 25-23.
Lewis University Flyers
The Lewis Flyers have played well so far this season and have a 7-3 record to show for it. On Friday night, they swept Penn State and, last weekend, they did something the Bruins weren’t able to do—beat Cal State Northridge on the road. But, they’ve also stumbled against UC Irvine, Pepperdine and UC Santa Barbara, whom UCLA swept a few weeks ago.
On paper, I would expect the Bruins to win this one in four sets or less, but the face that this one is on the road has me concerned about this one. I still think UCLA comes out of this match with the win, but I think this may end up going five sets.
This is your UCLA Bruins vs. Lewis Flyers men’s volleyball open thread.