Jan. 18, 2008
The UCLA men's volleyball team lost in four games to Long Beach State Friday night, suffering its first conference loss of the season.
Long Beach State won 30-27, 30-18, 24-30, 30-28 in an hour and 52 minutes before 1003 fans. The fifth-ranked 49ers remained unbeaten at 6-0 overall, 4-0 in league play. The Bruins, who lost for the first time in four matches, fell to 5-2 overall, 3-1 in league play.
In Game 1, the Bruins watched a three-point lead evaporate when The Beach tied the score at 18-18 on UCLA sophomore Brett Perrine's hitting error. The teams traded points until the 49ers broke from a 26-26 tie with a 4-1 run to claim a 1-0 lead.
The Beach used its momentum from Game 1 to skirt out to an early 8-3 lead in Game 2 before piling on the points as the Bruins couldn't find a rhythm. UCLA hit .067 for this game, while the 49ers sizzled at .438. Seven kills by LBS senior Paul Lotman and four by sophomore Dean Bittner helped give the visitors a 2-0 lead and plenty of momentum.
In Game 3, it was the Bruins who sizzled with a new lineup. Every starter was replaced except for outside hitter Garrett Muagututia and libero Tony Ker. Muagututia pounded seven kills in this game, and received help from junior Ryan Ratelle, who added six, and Sean Nichols who spiked four. As a team, the Bruins hit .471 and outgunned the 49ers 21 kills to 15.
Game 4 was a tug-of-war with neither team gaining more than a three-point advantage. After The Beach took a 25-22 lead the Bruins called timeout and stormed back with three points of their own to tie it. At 27-27, Long Beach State pulled away on a kill by Lotman and an ace by Fletcher Anderson. After a kill by Muagututia, Lotman spiked another kill to end it.
Muagututia led the Bruins with 16 kills and 18.5 points, followed by Ratelle, who pounded a career high of 11 kills and scored 12 points.
Lotman led all players with 25 kills (.321) and 26 points. Bittner added 17 kills, two aces, five block assists and 21.5 points.
The Bruins travel to USC (Jan. 23) and Pepperdine (Jan. 25) before returning to Pauley Pavilion for a four-match home stand that begins with Cal Baptist on Jan. 30.