This Weekend — The top-ranked UCLA men's volleyball team (8-1, 5-0) heads out on the road for a return match at No. 8 UC Irvine on Saturday Feb. 1. The Bruins have won eight straight matches on the season. It is the longest win-streak by a Bruin team since it captured 10-straight victories during the months of January and February of the 2012 season. UCLA will not be back in Pauley until a Feb. 12 match against Long Beach State.
Live Coverage — Live stats of the match at UCI will be available at livestats.prestosports.com/ucirvine or you can listen on www.uclabruins.com. Fans can also follow the matches on UCLA's live Twitter feed @UCLAMensVB.
In The Rankings — The Bruins moved into a tie for the top-spot nationally in the rankings with Loyola-Chicago on Monday. Loyola, which defeated UCI and BYU earlier this season, has an 11 first-place votes-to-five edge on the Bruins. UCI is ranked No. 8. This is UCLA's first #1 ranking by the AVCA since the 2012 season (March 5, 2012, week 9 poll).
Scouting the Opponent — The defending national champs, who earned the NCAA title in Pauley last May, have dropped matches at Loyola-Chicago (2-3), at Pepperdine (1-3), at USC (2-3) and at home to BYU (2-3). Irvine will host UCSD on Friday before welcoming the Bruins to the Bren Center. The Bruins played UCI three times last season and lost (2-3 --- 17-25,17-25,26-24,25-22,13-15) in the Santa Barbara Invitational and at home (2-3---19-25,25-22,25-20,20-25,11-15). UCLA scored a four-set win (25-16, 25-16, 19-25, 25-17) at Irvine last season on Mar. 30 and won in three sets (25-14,25-23,25-23) earlier this week on Monday night in Pauley.
Recapping Previous Action — The Bruins dealt UCI a 3-0 setback in Pauley on Monday. Freshman Michael Fisher made his second start of the season and contributed 10 kills, three aces and four digs. Gonzalo Quiroga led the Bruins with 14 kills while hitting .435. Robart Page totaled 11 kills. Michael Beals had 37 set assists.
Page led UCLA over UCSD on Thursday with 15 kills and a .520 hitting percentage. Quiroga added seven kills and an ace. Trent Kersten totaled six kills, an ace, and three blocks. Beals registered 34 set assists, an ace, eight digs and two blocks.
Coach Speraw: Year Two at UCLA — John Speraw (UCLA '95) is in his second season as the head coach at his alma mater. In year one, the Bruins went 21-11 and advanced to the semifinals of the MPSF Tournament. In 10 seasons at UC Irvine, Speraw led the Anteaters to three NCAA championships (2007, 2009, 2012), and a 199-106 (.646) overall record. On Mar. 25, 2013, he was named head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team for the next quadrennial ending at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero. In the summer of 2012, he had served as an assistant coach for the USA Men's National Team, which advanced to the quarterfinals of the London Olympics. Speraw earned AVCA National Coach of the Year in 2006 and was given the USA Olympic Committee's National Coach of the Year award in 2007.
Coming Up — The Bruins remain on the road next week with MPSF matches at Pepperdine (Feb. 5) and at USC (Feb. 9) before returning home on Feb. 12 to meet Long Beach State in Pauley Pavilion. Tickets are available at the Pauley door or for information, please call 310-UCLA-WIN.
Weekend MPSF action - Fri.: Hawai'i at UCSB; BYU at Pepperdine; CS Northridge at Pacific; LB State at Stanford; UCSD at UCI - Sat. BYU at USC; CS Northridge at Stanford; LB State at Pacific; UCLA at UCI --- BYU at 6-0 and UCLA 5-0 sit atop the MPSF heading into the weekend action ... For Current Standings go to mpsports.org
Trending Numbers —The current eight-match winning streak is the team's longest under coach Speraw ... The Bruins have also won eight straight home matches (four this season and last four in 2013 (last home loss was to Cal Baptist on Apr. 4, 2013) ... Quiroga has double-digit kills in eight of nine matches this season ... Kersten has hit at least .308 in each of the last eight matches ... The last time UCLA was ranked #1 by AVCA was March 5, 2012 - week 9 poll ... In MPSF matches, UCLA is outserving the opponent 27 aces to 16...UCLA's 8-1 overall start is its best since the 2012 squad opened by winning 12 of its first 13 matches, the lone loss in that stretch was to UCI...The Bruins opened the 2012 MPSF slate with wins in its first seven league matches that season.