The Bruins will face their highest ranked opponent so far this season.
No. 2 UCLA men’s volleyball (2-0) will match up against No. 12 CSUN (2-1) in the Matadome on Wednesday. This will be the first ranked opponent the Bruins will face this season.
UCLA started its season with two wins last week against Princeton (0-4) and UC San Diego (0-2), winning 3-0 and 3-1, respectively. Senior outside hitter Dylan Missry said those wins provided learning opportunities for the team.
“Those games just exploited our weaknesses and showed what we needed to work on,” Missry said. “We worked on some block defense stuff today that we need to get better at.”
Coach John Speraw said serving is an area that could use improvement.
“In the Princeton match we had four guys hit it over 70 mph,” Speraw said. “But then in the San Diego match we had 30 errors.”
UCLA had 30 service errors against UCSD, compared to 17 against Princeton.
Last year against CSUN, UCLA had 19 service errors in its match. The Bruins beat the Matadors in four sets, but senior setter Micah Ma’a said CSUN’s team is different this year with the graduation of opposite Arvis Greene.
“They will probably work a little more through their outsides than they have in the past,” Ma’a said. “(Greene) carried a huge load for them last year. He’s a ridiculous athlete.”
Greene led CSUN with 378 kills last year – 108 kills more than the Matador’s next best hitter.
Speraw said he is more focused on learning about his own roster.
“This time of the year is about trying to learn as much as you can about your opponents, but really trying just to be a little better on your side,” Speraw said. “Right now we’re two matches in with a bunch of new guys trying to figure out some systems.”
This new group of Bruins has not had as much in-game experience with each other this year compared to the Matadors. CSUN has already played a total of 14 sets while UCLA has only played seven. But, Missry said he isn’t concerned about the team’s chemistry.
“We had the whole fall block practicing together,” Missry said. “That new mixture of guys have definitely come together.”
Speraw added that fall practices have helped the Bruins prepare for a ranked opponent early on in the season.
“You get to this time of the year and some of those fundamental things you’ve been talking about all fall, it’s like, ‘Now I really understand its importance,’” Speraw said. “‘Now I have to be super focused on that because it’s actually costed me a match or a point or an opportunity.’”