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Ido David’s 17 kills lead UCLA men’s volleyball to sweep against Long Beach State

The Bruins go in for a huddle after winning a point. Led by freshman Andrew Rowan – the Bruins’ new starting setter – UCLA swept the team that knocked it out of the NCAA tournament in 2022. (Joseph Jimenez/Assistant Photo editor)

Men's Volleyball

No. 2 Long Beach State0
No. 4 UCLA3

By Anthony Aroyan

Feb. 10, 2023 2:16 p.m.

One thought sat on the Bruins’ minds Thursday night: payback.

“We’ve had a poster of the point that ended the match last year,” said senior outside hitter Alex Knight. “We have had it up in our locker room, so it’s definitely something we didn’t forget.”

Against the team that ended its season a year ago, No. 4 UCLA men’s volleyball (10-1) emerged victorious with a sweep against No. 2 Long Beach State (6-1) at Pauley Pavilion. The contest was the first meeting between the two prestigious programs since the 2022 NCAA tournament, where the Beach reverse swept the Bruins.

The victory also came on the heels of the blue and gold’s first loss of the season against Penn State on Saturday, which shattered UCLA’s nine-match winning streak.

With both losses lingering in players’ minds, coach John Speraw decided to approach the match against his opponent through a fresh set of eyes.

“I personally didn’t come in with any extra type of motivation because of last year,” Speraw said. “For me, it’s about this team, how this team is going to reach its full potential. … (I) think I was just focused on winning the match.”

Despite the sweep, the match itself had both positives and negatives for the blue and gold.

The team maintained an aggressive offense from start to finish, highlighted by the play of Knight, whose 12 kills on a .579 hitting percentage marked his most efficient offensive display of the year. The Bruins were also able to move the ball effectively on offense, marked by a career-high 40-assist performance from freshman setter Andrew Rowan.

Out of a roster of seven hitters, the main weapons for the blue and gold were Knight and sophomore outside hitter/opposite Ido David. David recorded a team-high 17 kills, six of which came in the third set to close out the match and secure the sweep.

(Joseph Jimenez/Assistant Photo editor)
Sophomore outside hitter/opposite Ido David goes up for a serve. David led the squad with 17 kills on the night, including six in the final slate. (Joseph Jimenez/Assistant Photo editor)

“The minute I start the game and I’m on fire, I know it will be a great game,” David said. “No matter who will be on the other side, I will just keep going up.”

While the match did end without a single dropped set from UCLA, the Bruins still showed room to improve, Speraw said.

A majority of the Bruins’ missteps came from behind the service line. The team recorded a season-high-tying 23 service errors.

“The ones that were really bad misses, we have to take a look and figure out what we’re doing,” Speraw said. “There were too many of those tonight.”

With the victory against Long Beach State sealed at home, UCLA must now face its rivals away at Walter Pyramid on Friday at 7 p.m. for its last game before conference play in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation commences next week.

“Back-to-back matches are always interesting, tactically and emotionally,” Speraw said. “I think you’re going to see a very different volleyball match tomorrow.”

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Anthony Aroyan
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