UCLA men’s volleyball hit above .400 in three sets to take down Pepperdine in a four-set match Wednesday.
The Bruins began and ended the match on a high note by taking both the first and final sets 25-17.
Senior outside hitter Jake Arnitz completed 13 kills and totaled 25 assists on the night to push the Bruins to victory.
“We knew that we had to come in and try to handle business,” said Arnitz. “After our loss to BYU, tonight was a must win for us.”
No. 5 UCLA (16-5, 5-2 MPSF) came out strong in the first set, hitting above .500, while No. 7 Pepperdine (10-5,4-3) was unable to hit above .200.
In the second set, UCLA struggled offensively, unable to hit above .200. Pepperdine held a strong hitting percentage at .467 to conclude the set.
Junior outside hitter Dylan Missry said the Bruins lacked strong communication in the second set, which resulted in the Waves taking the set 25-17.
“We had a couple miscommunication errors which were kind of unacceptable,” Missry said. “But I think we rebounded well – in the future I want us to have less sets that are letdowns like that.”
The third set was characterized by a back-and-forth bout which resulted in a series of ties from prolonged rallies.
The Bruins and the Waves remained tied from point 10 to match point as they battled and UCLA secured the win late in the set. The two teams tied 19 times throughout the third. A pair of kills by sophomore middle blocker Daenan Gyimah and Arnitz with assists by junior opposite Micah Ma’a tipped the Bruins to take the third 26-24.
“I was just pleased to see we made a couple plays at the end that we needed to and we had a couple more opportunities that we didn’t execute on, but we were in the mix there late in that set so I felt comfortable even though it was tied,” said coach John Speraw.
UCLA held off Pepperdine in the final set, never giving up the lead.
Two kills from the Bruins and two attack errors by the Waves gave UCLA a 4-point cushion. The Waves were unable to recover and ultimately fell to the Bruins.
“I think this was a must win for us to stay in contingent for the … bid,” Missry said. “I think we played fairly well.”
UCLA will face George Mason University in its next bout on its home court Saturday.