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Men’s volleyball pursues second win against Matadors on the season

Redshirt junior outside hitter/setter Sam Kobrine had 21 assists and two service aces in No. 12 UCLA men’s volleyball’s win over CSUN on Friday. The Bruins and Matadors will face off once again at Pauley Pavilion on Thursday. (Bernard Mendez/Daily Bruin)

Men's volleyball

Thursday, 7 p.m.

Pauley Pavilion
UCLA Live Stream

By Jake Greenberg-Bell

March 5, 2020 1:46 a.m.

The Bruins are in a much different spot than they were the last time they played the Matadors.

No. 12 UCLA men’s volleyball (8-9, 2-3 MPSF) returns home to Westwood on Thursday night to take on CSUN (4-10) at Pauley Pavilion in its second match against the team this season and third match in six days. The last time the two teams faced off was Friday – six days before the rematch – when the Bruins swept the Matadors and set their second-highest hitting percentage of the season at .421.

It was the first time UCLA had swept an opponent since the second game of the season Jan. 4.

Even though the team had success against the Matadors earlier this season, assistant coach Spencer McLachlin said he was nervous the Bruins might take the match too lightly.

“I’m a little nervous, to be honest, because it’s one of those kind of trap matches where you know we played well and swept them the last time and now we’ve lost two and I don’t want us to come in with the mentality that, ‘Oh, we’re just going to sweep them again,’” McLachlin said. “It just doesn’t work like that. Teams like Northridge are too good to think that way.”

Coming into the game, the Bruins are on a two-match losing streak and have dropped four of their last five. During the losses, the team won sets against two teams ranked in the top four, but failed to come away with victories.

After losing to No. 3 UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday night, redshirt junior outside hitter/setter Sam Kobrine said the team is hoping to learn from its mistakes ahead of the match against CSUN.

“We’re going to have to go back and practice some of the things that we struggled at today, a lot of ball control stuff, some connection things,” Kobrine said. “Then we’re going to come out and hopefully execute better, especially from the game plan and the skills that we can control.”

In the earlier matchup against the Matadors, the Bruins were effective offensively as the team saw contributions from a range of players – five players recorded at least five kills each. UCLA also committed just nine attacking errors, its lowest total since the first game of the season.

Since their loss against the Bruins, the Matadors had almost a full week of no contests. UCLA, however, has played both No. 4 Long Beach State and No. 3 UC Santa Barbara in the days since.

Senior middle blocker Daenan Gyimah, who leads the team in points-per-set for the season, said the Bruins should expect the Matadors to raise their level of intensity in round two of the season series.

“That team played terribly last time,” Gyimah said. “So we can expect them to come a bit harder.”

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Jake Greenberg-Bell | Sports contributor
Greenberg-Bell is currently a Sports contributor on the men's volleyball beat. He was previously a contributor on the women's soccer beat.
Greenberg-Bell is currently a Sports contributor on the men's volleyball beat. He was previously a contributor on the women's soccer beat.
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