The good news is that the UCLA men’s volleyball team swept crosstown rival Southern Cal on Sunday, 25-21, 25-21, 25-22. The bad news is that, tonight, UCLA plays an MPSF game at home they may not be favored to win when they welcome the Pepperdine Waves to Pauley Pavilion at 7 pm PT.
Last Time Out
Against Southern Cal on Sunday, Brandon Rattray led UCLA in kills with 17 while Daenan Gyimah added 14 more as the Bruins cruised to a three-set sweep. Micah Ma’a led the team with 40 assists while Sam Kobrine had 7 digs.
In the first set, UCLA jumped ahead to the early lead, but, with the score 10-8, Bruins, the Trojans scored on consecutive points to tie the set, 10-10. The Bruins bounced back to score on three straight volleys to take a 13-10 lead. That pretty much wrapped up the first set. Southern Cal would be able to get as close as one point down twice throughout the rest of the set, but they couldn’t tie it and UCLA won the first set, 25-21.
UCLA led in the early going of set two as well, but, with the score, 10-8, Southern Cal pieced together a 3-0 mini-run to take an 11-10 lead. Five points later, the Trojans were still ahead, 14-12. The Bruins re-took the lead with a 3-0 mini-run of their own, but Southern Cal immediately tied it at 15-15. Grant Maleski put the Bruins ahead for good in this set with a kill that gave UCLA a 16-15 lead and they cruised to a 25-21 win in the second set, too.
Again, the Bruins led early in the third set, but the Trojans fought back to tie it 4-4. They, then, took a 6-5 lead and were still leading with the score, 11-10. UCLA won four of the next five points and took a 14-12 lead, but the Trojans scored the next two to tie it up at 14-14. A 4-1 UCLA run put the Bruins ahead for good as Southern Cal was unable to even tie it up after that as UCLA marched to a 25-22 win in the set and a 3-0 sweep of the match.
Like UCLA, the Pepperdine Waves are 4-0 in the MPSF standings. That means tonight’s game is a battle for first in the conference. The winner of tonight’s match may not ultimately win the conference, but tonight’s winner will certainly be in the driver’s seat heading into the second half of conference play.
The Waves’ only two losses of the season came on the road to Loyola-Chicago and UC Irvine. So, if the Bruins are going to beat the Waves this year, tonight’s game is probably the best chance to do it.
The only question is “Can the Bruins play consistently enough tonight to win?”
I think they will be able to piece it together, but it will probably take five sets to do it.
This is your UCLA vs. Pepperdine men’s volleyball open thread.