No. 2 UCLA men’s volleyball opened up conference play with a victory over Concordia on Thursday.
The Bruins (12-1, 1-0 MPSF) shut down the Eagles (3-3) in three sets, defeating them 25-18, 28-26 and 25-17.
The match marked the Bruins’ sixth sweep of the season.
“They have a lot of good fundamentals. However, they lack the aggressiveness that we have,” said senior outside hitter Jake Arnitz.
UCLA also faced Concordia in 2017, when the Bruins topped the Eagles in five sets.
“We knew they wanted to come out harder and play us so we decided to keep the focus and make our serves,” Arnitz said.
Coach John Speraw said the Bruins need to work on their play in transition.
“We can rally with teams and we have good ball control, but we need to be more opportunistic in learning when we should kill the ball versus prolonging a rally and vice versa,” Speraw said. “There is a lot for us to study and improve there.”
UCLA dominated the first set, outhitting Concordia .462 to .100 to take the set 25-18.
Concordia answered in the second set by quintupling their hitting percentage. Although the Eagles outhit the Bruins .500 to .357, they were unable to secure the win.
“We gave them a bit of a lead in the set, but I was pleased with our poise and resilience in that moment,” Speraw said.
Tight rallies at the end of the set forced the teams into overtime. The Bruins bested the Eagles at the end of the second set, thanks to a kill by junior opposite Micah Ma’a.
UCLA cruised into the final set with an established 2-0 lead.
The Bruins surpassed the Eagles in the third set by hitting .387 to .000.
Senior opposite Christian Hessenauer and Concordia outside hitter Raymond Barsemian each led their teams with 12 kills apiece.
The Bruins averaged a .400 hitting percentage on the night. Senior outside hitter JT Hatch closed the night with eight kills, followed by Arnitz’s seven kills.
UCLA will face Grand Canyon in its next conference matchup Saturday.
“We don’t have much time to change anything before Saturday, so we are going to rest up and get ready to head to Arizona,” Hatch said.