Tuesday, May 26

Men’s volleyball sweeps NJIT Highlanders in first game of season

Senior opposite hitter Christian Hessenauer led the Bruins in kills during Wednesday's season opener, notching 12 kills in the win over NJIT. (Hannah Burnett/Assistant Photo editor)

UCLA men’s volleyball opened its season with a sweep over New Jersey Institute of Technology on Wednesday night.

The No. 4 Bruins (1-0, 0-0 MPSF) are ranked second in the preseason MPSF Coaches’ Poll and fourth in the AVCA preseason poll, returning a number of their starters like senior outside hitter and two-time second-team AVCA All-American Jake Arnitz, senior outside hitter/libero JT Hatch and junior setter Micah Ma’a.

Off the Block selected Arnitz and Ma’a as preseason first-team and second-team All-Americans, respectively. Hatch was an honorable-mention preseason All-American choice.

The Highlanders (0-1, 0-0 Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) struggled for control as the Bruins gained a 17-6 lead during the first set. UCLA allowed NJIT to gain a few more points, but ultimately ran away with set one 25-17.

Senior opposite Christian Hessenauer logged seven kills in the first set – only one fewer than all the Highlanders combined.

Set two was a tighter race, with the Highlanders momentarily closing the gap between themselves and the Bruins to just two points. They failed to stop UCLA from claiming set two 25-22, however.

The score was tied on several occasions in the third set, but the Bruins never allowed NJIT to take the lead. UCLA took the third set 25-20 on an ace from Hessenauer, who led the Bruins offensively with 12 kills, followed by Arnitz’s 10.

UCLA will host the 2018 NCAA men’s volleyball championship at Pauley Pavilion in May. The Bruins will also host King University and McKendree University in the John Wooden Center this weekend.

Zhang joined the Bruin as a sophomore in 2015 and contributed until she graduated in 2018. She was an assistant Sports editor for the 2017-2018 academic year and spent time on the women's water polo, women's soccer, women's volleyball, men's volleyball, and cross country beats.

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