The Bruins will begin their road trip against a familiar opponent.
No. 7 UCLA men’s volleyball (5-2) will face UC San Diego (2-4) for the second time this season Friday night at the Recreation, Intramural, and Athletic Complex Arena in La Jolla, California. This is the first match of a series of three road games for the Bruins.
The Bruins have a chance to clinch their second win against the Tritons this season after earning split results from their home games last week against No. 10 UC Santa Barbara (5-3) and No. 1 Long Beach State (6-0).
The Bruins defeated the Tritons in four sets earlier this month and held them to a .066 hitting percentage. UCLA recorded a season-high 11 aces and 12.5 blocks, hitting for .365. The Bruins also had three players with double-digit kills.
Coach John Speraw said the Bruins will not change their approach for their next match.
“We need to focus on us,” Speraw said. “I don’t know that we’re gonna plan to approach them any differently. I think our approach right now needs to be consistent in terms of the way we play the game and how we handle any opponent.”
Senior outside hitter Dylan Missry – who led the Bruins in their match against UCSD with 16 kills along with two aces and two blocks – said UCLA will continue to work on minimizing errors as a team after it posted a season-high 20 errors in its loss to Long Beach State.
“We’ve been making quite a few unforced errors, so we’re swinging more for the core, trying to hit some hands to keep the ball in play a little more to cut down on those errors,” Missry said. “I think it’s more about us than them right now.”
UCSD has lost its last two games in straight sets on the road against No. 9 Lewis (5-2) and No. 5 Loyola Chicago (5-1). Outside hitter Wyatt Harrison has led UCSD with 52 kills on the season and has hit for .158.
Redshirt junior opposite Brandon Rattray, who had 13 kills and five blocks against the Tritons, said the Bruins have also been working on improving their out-of-system hitting as well as improving from the service line.
“Out-of system hitting is also another thing that we’ve been really hammering home,” Rattray said. “Just being patient and not getting too antsy and running up. Just continuing to work on chipping around the block and hitting the block.”
Speraw said UCLA continues to stress the importance of progressing as a team with every match, despite having to adjust to new players and systems.
“I don’t think that we’re going to necessarily be where we want to be until the very end of the year,” Speraw said. “I think if we go out and play our game, the way we’re capable of playing it, then I think we’ll be in a good position to compete well.”