The Bruins remain undefeated in conference play.
No. 6 UCLA men’s volleyball (11-4, 3-0 MPSF) overcame unranked Concordia University Irvine (5-11, 1-3) in straight sets Wednesday night at CU Arena. The match marked the Bruins’ third straight Mountain Pacific Sports Federation win of the season.
Coach John Speraw said UCLA improved both offensively and defensively after it suffered losses against No. 5 UC Santa Barbara (13-3, 1-0 Big West) and No. 1. Long Beach State (13-0) in the last week.
“I just think in general we just played a little bit more of a sound game,” Speraw said. “We certainly passed the ball better, which allowed us to do a little bit more offensively and I think we just did a much better job of some fundamentals, in terms of shot selection and fundamental block.”
Redshirt junior opposite Brandon Rattray led UCLA in Wednesday’s game with 13 kills and four aces and said offensive aggression, especially from the service line, was a factor in the win that snapped the Bruins’ losing streak.
“I have to say the biggest thing was service pressure,” Rattray said. “We brought some heat tonight and when we can bring service pressure like that, put the pressure on other teams, get them out of system consistently, I like our chances.”
UCLA trailed by as many as three points late in the second set, but two service aces by Rattray allowed the Bruins to take the set by a score of 26-24.
“We stayed nice and poised,” Rattray said. “Every single one of us had the thought in our head that we were going to be able to come back and beat these guys even though we were down.”
The Bruins recorded seven aces, eight blocks and hit for .356 – compared to the Eagles’ four aces and six blocks. UCLA also held Concordia to a .101 hitting percentage and forced 16 attack errors.
Junior outside hitter Austin Matautia, who recorded 11 kills and two blocks in the match, said the Bruins were able to execute their game plan.
“I think tonight we did a good job at applying what we’ve been practicing into the game and executing the scouting report,” said Matautia. “Since the last two games, we’ve kind of evaluated ourselves as a serving team and these past couple practices we’ve really worked on our serving, so it’s really nice to have it pay off tonight.”
UCLA will return to Pauley Pavilion on Sunday night to face No. 14 USC (7-6, 1-2 MPSF).