It took a full five sets, but the Bruins defeated Pepperdine on Wednesday to take sole possession of first place in the MPSF. Tonight, UCLA is in Phoenix for a match against the Antelopes of Grand Canyon University at 5 pm PT.
Last Time Out
On Wednesday night, the Bruins came back from two sets down to defeat the Waves, 29-31. 17-25, 25-20, 25-18, 15-9. Austin Matautia led UCLA with 22 kills while adding 11 digs, giving him a double-double. Brandon Rattray had 18 kills and Sam Kobrine had 12. Cole Pender recorded 12 digs and Micah Ma’a had an amazing 60 assists.
The first set was a knock down, drag out street fight. Neither team led by more than four during the set and, even when the Bruins took a four-point lead at 18-14, the Waves managed to cut the lead to two right away. With the set tied 21-21, Kobrine gave the Bruins a 22-21 edge, but that was also short-lived. Pepperdine responded with three straight points, giving them their first set point. UCLA fought off two set points to tie it 24-24 and then took a 25-24 lead. The teams went back and forth and, soon, it was tied 29-29. Finally, the Waves scored on consecutive points to take the first set, 31-29.
The second set was a little easier. UCLA jumped out to a 7-4 lead early, but a 9-2 run put the Waves ahead, 13-9. That was enough to put them ahead for good as well as the Bruins couldn’t put together consecutive points more than once in the rest of the set. Eventually, the Waves took the set, 25-17.
The battle resumed in the third set. But, with the set tied 11-11, the Bruins went on a 4-1 run and didn’t look back as they cruised to a 25-20 victory.
Pepperdine scored on five of the first six points in the fourth set, but the Bruins came roaring back with a 13-4 run that gave them a 14-9 lead. After that, the Waves couldn’t catch UCLA and the Bruins went on to 25-18 win in this set.
The final set was over almost before it began. UCLA scored the first three points and Pepperdine couldn’t catch up, although they got as close as a point twice. The Bruins won this set, 15-9, to finish their comeback after dropping the first two sets.
Grand Canyon Antelopes
The Antelopes are the worst team in the MPSF. Not only are they winless in the conference, they haven’t won since they beat Charleston on February 2nd.
Look for UCLA’s trip to the desert to be short and quick as the Bruins should sweep GCU easily.
This is your UCLA vs. GCU men’s volleyball open thread.