Sixth-ranked UCLA opened MPSF Conference play by handing top-ranked Stanford its first loss of the season on Friday afternoon in Pauley Pavilion. Scores of the match were 23-25, 25-22, 25-23, 29-31, 15-11.
Senior Robart Page’s career-best 26th kill of the match ended the almost three-hour contest and improved the Bruins record to 4-1 on the season. The cross-court spike was the last of several fine plays by the 7-footer in the deciding set. Page’s kill broke a 7-7 tie earlier in the set and his block assist gave UCLA a 12-8 advantage. A Page kill and another block assist set the stage for the final swing of the match.
In set one, UCLA struggled out of the gate and fell behind 13-9. Coach John Speraw called timeout with the Bruins down 18-14 to try to change the momentum of the match and the team began to respond. A kill by Page pulled the Bruins to within 22-19. Gonzalo Quiroga’s kill made it 23-22 Stanford and the Bruins soon evened it up at 23 on an ace from setter Steve O’Dell. The Cardinal managed to secure the set with the final two points, but the Bruins had sent a message with the comeback effort.
Set two was a see-saw battle with 17 ties. The set was even at 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21 before kills from Quiroga and Spencer Rowe sent UCLA ahead 23-21. Another spike from Quiroga had the Bruins up 24-21. Freshman Jackson Bantle closed out the Cardinal in set two with a kill.
In set three, Stanford grabbed the lead at 9-8 and was not headed until the Bruins took a 22-21 advantage on a kill by Quiroga. Rowe’s swing put the Bruins up 2-1 in the match and handed the UCLA a 25-23 win.
Set four turned into an epic battle with the score being tied at each point from 18 through 29. Kills from Rowe and then Page leveled the match at 28 and again at 29, but the Bruins could not come up with the the big play at the end. The Cardinal kept the match alive with a 31-29 win.
An ace from O’Dell put UCLA in front 7-6 in set five. Stanford quickly tied it up at 7, but the Bruins began the pull away after that, taking a 9-7 edge on kills by Page and Bantle. UCLA never let the Cardinal back in the set and came away with a 15-11 decision on Page’s 26th kill of the match.
In addition to Page’s huge night, Quiroga added 19 kills and nine digs. Rowe finished with five blocks. Trent Kersten hit .500 on 16 attacks and added three blocks. Bantle totaled nine kills, two aces and eight digs. Ian Sequeira had a career-best 13 digs. O’Dell handed out a career-best 61 set assists and added four kills, two blocks and an ace.
UCLA improved to 4-1, 1-0 on the year and will host UOP on Saturday night in Pauley Pavilion at 7 p.m. in another MPSF encounter. Tickets will be available at the door. The match will also be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.