Looks like the Bruins will have to try again to earn the moniker “road warriors.”
After building up a three-match road winning streak, the No. 6 UCLA men’s volleyball team failed to remain perfect on the road this season, splitting a pair of away matches this weekend. The Bruins fell in three sets to No. 2 Stanford 30-24, 30-23, 30-24 in front of 795 Cardinal supporters in Palo Alto Friday night. UCLA came back to sweep Pacific 30-26, 30-26, 30-27 in front of 150 Tiger fans in Stockton Saturday night.
And with a sluggish offense Friday night against Stanford (7-3, 6-3), UCLA coach Al Scates blames the Bruins’ (7-6, 6-4 MPSF) disappointing loss at least in part on an early wakeup call Friday morning. The Bruins boarded busses for the airport around 6:30 a.m. to make it to the Bay Area in time to be ready for the 7 p.m. match against Stanford.
“We were really out of sync,” Scates said. “I probably should have flown in after practice on (Thursday). I don’t know when these guys get up in the morning normally but I’m sure it’s not 6:30.”
The Bruins finished with just three total blocks and hit a mere .237 clip due to an “uncharacteristic” 24 hitting errors, according to Scates.
“In 3 games, we hit (24) balls out,” Scates said. “There’s really nobody in the league we could have beat that night hitting like that.”
Usually a consistent leader for the Bruins, senior outside hitter Garrett Muagututia hit just eight kills with six errors for a .083 clip.
Scates said the Bruins’ only bright side was the play of his sophomore quick hitters, Thomas Amberg and Nick Vogel. They each had eight kills and a pair of errors.
Vogel’s serving paralleled that of the rest of the Bruins, with the sophomore smacking five service errors and no aces. UCLA finished with 17 errors and no aces. The Cardinal made two aces but hit just 10 errors.
Led by senior setter Kawika Shoji’s direction of the offense, Stanford ran a quick attack, hitting just nine errors and finishing with a .359 clip.
Throughout the match, the Bruins were unable to keep up with the Cardinal. After taking a 19-18 first set lead, Stanford did not look back, taking the first set and leading the entire second set.
The Bruins turned things around Saturday night in Stockton, sweeping last-place Pacific (6-9, 0-9) with their hitting and blocking back to normal, finishing the match with a .323 clip and 10 blocks. The Bruins also brought on a blazing serve with nine aces.
In the win Saturday, both squads played evenly in the first set until about 20 points, when UCLA took over. The Bruins dominated the second set, leading early by as much as 7-2. The third set was close throughout, with the teams being tied as late as 27 points.
Compiled by Farzad Mashhood, Bruin Sports senior staff.