Errors plagued the Bruins as their winning streak came to an end.
No. 4 UCLA (10-3) lost to No. 6 UC Santa Barbara (12-3) in five sets by scores of 25-18, 21-25, 25-20, 19-25 and 15-12. The loss ended the Bruins’ five-game win streak.
Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Sam Kobrine said poor passing was a factor in the loss.
“Our passing isn’t where we expected it to be,” Kobrine said. “(UCSB) came in and hammered some serves and that threw us out of rhythm, especially in the beginning.”
UCSB had three service aces and hit for .524 in the first set. UCLA only hit for .133 to begin the match.
The Bruins had a total of 21 attacking errors and 30 service errors in the match, but Kobrine had his career high in kills with 11 while hitting for .286. Kobrine said his pregame training helped him achieve the milestone.
“It felt really good because I know I have been coming in and watching a lot of video on my swings,” Kobrine said.
UCLA came back from the first set loss with a win in the second set as redshirt junior opposite Brandon Rattray returned to the court after missing the last three games due to injury. He had eight kills, but also four attacking errors throughout the remainder of the game. Rattray said he felt a little out of shape.
“I’m not affected by the injury, but I haven’t been able to get out there in the practice gym and compete,” Rattray said. “Just a little bit rusty not being able to connect with Micah (Ma’a) in the past week and a half.”
Coach John Speraw said he noticed the drop in Rattray’s play.
“(Rattray) looked good at times, but he also looked like he had taken a couple weeks off,” Speraw said. “This hasn’t been a smooth year and we’re 10-3. I’m not discouraged at all.”
UCLA lost the third set before evening the score at two sets a piece by winning the fourth set. The Bruins hit .440 in the fourth set, their highest hitting percentage of the game.
UCLA was down 12-13 in the final set when Ma’a jump served into the net to pick up his fifth service error of the match, allowing the Gauchos to serve for game point.
Speraw said that Ma’a should continue to be aggressive despite his errors.
“(Ma’a) is one of the best servers in the country,” Speraw said. “Would you have a fastball pitcher that is the best pitcher in the country throw a curve when it matters? Hell no. You throw the heater or you lose.”
Ma’a is ranked third in the nation in aces per set, with a line of .698.
UCLA will travel to play No. 1 Long Beach State on Saturday and Concordia on Wednesday.