February 9, 1999
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Defending NCAA men's volleyball champion UCLA travels to three important MPSF matches this week, including a Feb. 10 showdown with red-hot USC.
The Bruins, 6-2 overall and 4-1 in MPSF play, travel to USC Feb. 10 for a 7 p.m. match at the North Gym. On Fri., Feb. 12 UCLA visits San Diego State for a 7 p.m. match and on Sat., Feb. 13, the Bruins meet UC San Diego at 8 p.m. in La Jolla.
USC (6-1, 5-0) is off to its best regular season and conference start in five years. The Trojans on Saturday defeated Stanford, 3-1, behind freshman Brook Billings' 19 kills. USC outblocked the Cardinal 18.5-9.0 and limited them to a .218 hitting percentage.
The Bruins have won 12 straight against the Trojans, winning 3-1 last season at Pauley Pavilion. Overall, UCLA leads the series 70-25, last losing to USC on Apr. 24, 1991 in the league championship at UC Irvine. On Apr. 6, 1991, the Bruins snapped a three-match skid to the Trojans with a 3-1 victory at Pauley Pavilion that spoiled USC's bid for an undefeated season.
Following Wednesday's match the Bruins travel to San Diego State (0-3, 0-3) to face a team they have defeated seven straight times. The Aztecs' last victory over UCLA came on Mar. 8, 1991 in the John Wooden Center. The Bruins lead this series 60-2.
UC San Diego (2-8, 0-8) is one of four MPSF teams never to have beaten UCLA. The Tritons were ranked No. 2 in Division III last week and boast a 3-2 victory over 1998 NCAA Championship semifinalist Princeton on Jan. 29. UCLA leads the series, 28-0.
Last week the Bruins swept Cal State Northridge at Pauley Pavilion and defeated UC Irvine in four on the road.
Against CS Northridge, UCLA boasted five players with double digit kills, led by first-time starter Ed Ratledge, who tallied 16 kills. The Bruins also enjoyed their best serving night of the season, acing the Matadors 10 times. The Bruins outhit the Matadors .514 to .247 and outblocked them 8.5-4.5.
Against UCI, the Bruins dropped Game 1, despite hitting .472 with 30 kills. They rebounded to outblock the Anteaters 14-9, while limiting them to a .287 match hitting percentage, including a .178 average in Game 4. Junior Adam Naeve spiked 27 kills, blocked nine balls and served a pair of aces.
UCLA VB QUICK FACTS
*MPSF matches. PP-at Pauley Pavilion. JWC - at John Wooden Center
#3 Brandon Taliaferro, Jr., S, San Clemente, CA (1.1kpg, 15.7apg, 1.1bpg) #5 Mark Williams, So., OH, Los Angeles, CA (3.0kpg, 2.3dpg, 0.5bpg) #9 Evan Thatcher, Jr., Op, Encinitas, CA (3.6kpg, 1.4 dpg, 0.8bpg) #14 Fred Robins, Sr., OH, Waimanalo, HI (2.7kpg, 2.0dpg, 0.6bpg) #15 Danny Farmer, Sr., Q, Los Angeles, CA (3.7kpg, 1.5dpg, 0.9bpg) #18 Adam Naeve, Jr., Q, Westchester, CA (4.6kpg, 1.3dpg, 2.1bpg)