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Men’s volleyball aims for consistency in upcoming games against CSUN, Long Beach

Redshirt middle blocker Matt Younggren was third on the team with nine kills in No. 12 UCLA men’s volleyball’s upset victory over No. 4 LBSU on Feb. 1. The Bruins will have a chance to make it two wins over the Beach this season on Saturday. (Daanish Bhatti/Daily Bruin)

Men's volleyball

Friday, 7 p.m.

Live Stream
No. 4 LSBU
Saturday, 5 p.m.

John Wooden Center
Pac-12 Networks

By Samuel In

Feb. 28, 2020 10:42 a.m.

The Bruins have a chance at being the first team since 2017 to beat the two-time reigning champion twice in a season.

No. 12 UCLA men’s volleyball (7-7, 2-3 MPSF) will face CSUN (4-9) at the Matadome in Northridge, California, on Friday at 7 p.m. and then come back home to face No. 4 Long Beach State (8-1) on Saturday at 5 p.m. in the John Wooden Center.

UCLA will face a CSUN team that has yet to pick up a set against a ranked opponent all season after being swept by then-No. 10 Purdue Fort Wayne and then-No. 13 Princeton. Coach John Speraw, however, said sweeping the Matadors is not a primary concern for the Bruins.

“I think (thinking about sweeping CSUN) is a little melodramatic for us right now,” Speraw said. “We’re not playing great ball, so to me, that doesn’t matter. Northridge is always a tough place to play. If we play like we’ve played at different matches over this season then we’re going to be in real trouble.”

After its match against CSUN, UCLA will return to the court the following day to face Long Beach State for the second time this season. The then-No. 8 Bruins upset the then-No.4 Beach in four sets, handing them their only loss so far this season.

Senior middle blocker Daenan Gyimah missed the last match against Long Beach State due to injury. He said the young guys stepped up in his absence to help the Bruins get a win.

“A bunch of the guys – especially the young guys – were killing it,” Gyimah said. “(Freshman setter Mads Kyed Jensen) was killing it. Service pressure was good and our passing was amazing. When we pass the ball we’re a dangerous team.”

Kyed Jensen had three service aces for UCLA in the Feb. 1 match. The team as a whole only averaged 4.75 service errors per set, tying its second-lowest mark for the season.

Speraw said that service pressure from the Bruins helped keep the Beach off-balance offensively.

“We got a little bit more serving production from some guys that hadn’t scored a lot of points for us,” Speraw said. “Offensively, they can be pretty good if they’re in system. We got them out of system and did a pretty good job defensively at the net. We’ll have to do that again.”

UCLA has gone 2-4 since its last match against Long Beach State, and has been upset twice in that span by then-No. 13 Stanford and then-No. 13 Grand Canyon.

Redshirt senior middle blocker Matt Younggren said the Bruins are still trying to find consistency in their play style.

“(This season) shows how volatile we’ve been playing,” Younggren said. “We obviously have a lot of potential and we have the pieces but we’ve definitely been up and down. It’s (about) finding the middle ground of where we can play steady.”

Gyimah said despite the inconsistencies, he’s not worried about the rest of the regular season.

“None of our matches really matter anymore until playoffs and we know we’re capable of beating every team so we’re just going to have to pull it together then,” Gyimah said.

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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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