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UCLA men’s volleyball falls to Grand Canyon in 4-set match, dips record to .500

Freshman setter/opposite Mads Kyed Jensen led No. 8 UCLA men’s volleyball in assists and digs in the Bruins’ 3-1 loss to No. 13 Grand Canyon. (Bernard Mendez/Daily Bruin)

By Samuel In

Feb. 22, 2020 4:17 p.m.

The Bruins lost the service game and the match.

No. 8 UCLA men’s volleyball (7-7, 2-3 MPSF) was upset by No. 13 Grand Canyon (11-3, 3-1) in four sets by scores of 20-25, 25-17, 25-23 and 25-19 at the Grand Canyon University Arena in Phoenix.

The Bruins won the first set by hitting for .417 while holding the Antelopes to .087 hitting, but then hit for .297 for the rest of the match as they lost the next three sets.

Freshman setter/opposite Mads Kyed Jensen said the service pressure put on by Grand Canyon was the difference in the match.

“We let Grand Canyon do some stuff that they shouldn’t be allowed to do,” Kyed Jensen said. “They had a really strong server that we did a great job of controlling in the first set and the three other sets we let him go on some big runs that made a huge difference in the match.”

The Antelopes had 11 service aces to the Bruins’ four while only accumulating one more service error with 25 to UCLA’s 24. Outside hitter Christian Janke led the Antelopes with six aces, followed by outside hitter Camden Gianni with four. The duo are fourth and 25th in the nation in aces per set, respectively.

Kyed Jensen said the Bruins could’ve returned serves better, but the Antelopes also served well.

“For sure they’re a great serving team,” Kyed Jensen said. “(Janke) has great serves. Our passers did an OK job. We had some serves that shouldn’t have been clean aces, but I think kudos to (Grand Canyon) for serving a great match.”

UCLA ended the match hitting .330 while Grand Canyon hit for .379. The Antelopes also had more digs, assists and kills than the Bruins.

Sophomore libero/outside hitter Cole Pender said momentum proved to be a factor for the Antelopes’ comeback.

“(Grand Canyon) just got momentum,” Pender said. “They pretty much beat us in every category. They just really got momentum in that gym. They served us tough.”

Senior outside hitter Austin Matautia had six kills en route to .143 hitting in his sixth straight match where he hit .250 or below. Assistant coach John Hawks said Matautia faces more pressure being a senior on a young team.

“There’s some pressure on (Matautia’s) part,” Hawks said. “He’s a senior out there with some young guys. He needs to be more aggressive in situations. He works hard and he’s a good kid. He’ll turn around.”

Redshirt senior opposite Brandon Rattray was subbed in and out of three sets and only had a single attacking attempt in his third game back from injury. Hawks said Rattray has to work to earn more opportunities in matches.

“(Rattray) needs to be more consistent in the practice gym,” Hawks said. “You don’t just get opportunities. You have to earn them, and then when you get those opportunities you’ve got to do the most with them. It’s not like he’s lights-out better than anybody we have.”

UCLA next plays on Friday at 7 p.m. against CSUN at the Matadome in Northridge, California.

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Samuel In | Assistant Video producer
In is an Assistant Video producer. He was previously a contributor on the men's volleyball and women's soccer beats and a video contributor on the Sports beat. He is a third-year communications major.
In is an Assistant Video producer. He was previously a contributor on the men's volleyball and women's soccer beats and a video contributor on the Sports beat. He is a third-year communications major.
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