After slow start, men’s volleyball to try to find rhythm against No. 3 UCSB
Senior middle blocker Daenan Gyimah (left) and freshman setter/opposite Mads Kyed Jensen (right) combined for 11 kills and two service aces in No. 12 UCLA men’s volleyball’s loss to No. 3 UCSB on Feb. 19. (Andy Bao/Daily Bruin)
Tuesday, 7 p.m.
By Samuel In
March 3, 2020 12:01 a.m.
The Bruins might try a new lineup to improve offensive efficiency in their rematch.
No. 12 UCLA men’s volleyball (8-8, 2-3 MPSF) will play No. 3 UCSB (12-2, 0-0 Big West) for the second time this season Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Thunderdome in Santa Barbara.
The Gauchos swept the Bruins earlier this season Feb. 19. UCLA was outhit .267 to .169 as a team, with freshman outside hitter/opposite Cole Ketrzynski and freshman outside hitter Alex Knight hitting for season-lows of -.059 and -.273, respectively.
However, this time around, the Bruins might feature two different setters in their lineup, as has been a recent trend. UCLA has played redshirt junior setter/outside hitter Sam Kobrine and freshman setter/opposite Mads Kyed Jensen on the court at the same time in its previous two matches. The two have combined for a total of 80 assists in that span.
Kyed Jensen said having another setter on the court allows for better transition play.
“We haven’t really (had two setters) that much,” Kyed Jensen said. “We’re getting used to it still, but I think it’s real nice. It gives us a lot of opportunities offensively, in transition especially.”
Kobrine had zero kills this season before accumulating 12 in the past two games while hitting for .344.
Kyed Jensen also set his season high in kills, with 14 in his most recent match against No. 4 Long Beach State.
The Bruins are coming off a five-set loss to the Beach on Saturday, a match in which UCLA allowed its opponent to hit for .417 while only hitting for .250. Coach John Speraw said despite the loss, he likes the way the Bruins are trending.
“I’m happy with our fight,” Speraw said. “That’s just the direction we want to keep going.”
UCSB has won its last six matches, five of which came against ranked opponents. The Gauchos have only dropped three sets in that span and have swept their last four opponents. In its last match against USC, UCSB hit for .456 as a team and tallied seven blocks in three sets.
The Gauchos also haven’t dropped a set or a match at home this season, going 6-0, but have only played one ranked opponent.
The Bruins are 4-8 this season against currently ranked opponents, but senior middle blocker Daenan Gyimah said he is not worried about the state of the team.
“We’re getting better, slowly,” Gyimah said. “That’s all that matters. We don’t have to be good yet.”