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Men’s volleyball defeats CSUN in four-set victory despite two-setter lineup

Redshirt junior outside hitter/setter Sam Kobrine finished second on the team in assists, digs and blocks as No. 12 UCLA men’s volleyball defeated CSUN at home on Thursday. (Sofia Gonzalez/Daily Bruin)

By Samuel In

March 6, 2020 1:54 a.m.

The two-setter lineup was not as successful the second time around, but the Bruins still came out with a victory.

No. 12 UCLA men’s volleyball (9-9, 2-3 MPSF) defeated CSUN (4-11) in four sets by scores of 26-24, 25-21, 25-27 and 25-22.

The Bruins again started the match with two setters on the court in redshirt junior setter/outside hitter Sam Kobrine and freshman setter/opposite Mads Kyed Jensen, just as they had done in their last meeting when they debuted the lineup against the Matadors on Feb 28.

Coach John Speraw said UCLA started playing with two setters because of an injury to freshman opposite Cole Ketrzynski.

“(Playing with two setters) depends a lot on the health of Ketrzynski,” Speraw said. “When he’s healthy, we’re probably better in a 5-1.”

After sweeping CSUN the first time with this lineup, UCLA started the rematch down 6-5 in the first set, eventually trailing 20-17 at one point.

The Bruins were blocked once and had three attacking errors before Kobrine was subbed out but were not blocked and had no more attacking errors after.

Speraw said playing with two setters usually does more harm than good.

“There are definitely complexities that require a lot of training when you’re running a 6-2,” Speraw said. “It can be really effective in a couple scenarios, but in general the complexity outweighs the benefits unless you really have some real reasons to be in that.”

Kobrine said he prefers having two setters because it diversifies the Bruin offense.

“I like (a two-setter lineup) a lot,” Kobrine said. “It gives us a lot of versatility. Our two setters can step back and pass. We can play the front row setter and mix up (our) setting.”

Kobrine was subbed back in to start the second set.

Despite getting the lead at 3-2 and then never losing it, UCLA hit for .133 in the second frame after hitting for .375 in the first set, committing eight attacking errors and being blocked four times.

Kobrine was again subbed out with the score at 22-19. The Bruins finished the rest of the set with two kills and zero attacking errors.

Senior outside hitter Austin Matautia hit for .167 with six attacking errors in the match. He said having two setters on the court at the same time can get confusing for the Bruins.

“There’s going to be moments where (the team doesn’t) realize who’s setting if we go into a long rally,” Matautia said.

UCLA hit for .194 in the third set, but had match point with the score 24-21. The Bruins proceeded to lose the next four points on a service error and two blocks and a kill by CSUN, and faced set point themselves being down 25-24.

UCLA came back after a service error by the Matadors but then lost the set on a service error by senior middle blocker Daenan Gyimah and attacking error by freshman outside hitter Alex Knight. The third set win by the Matadors was the first time this season CSUN had claimed a set against a ranked opponent.

The Bruins started the fourth set on a 3-0 run and never trailed the rest of the set, clinching the set and the match on a kill by Kobrine assisted by Kyed Jensen.

UCLA’s next match is slated for 5 p.m. at home on Saturday against No. 6 UC San Diego.

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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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