Jan. 21, 2008
The fifth-ranked UCLA men's volleyball team travels to No. 11 USC Jan. 23 and No. 2 Pepperdine Jan. 25 for a pair of MPSF showdowns.
The Bruins and Trojans will tangle at the Galen Center and UCLA and Pepperdine will meet at Firestone Fieldhouse. Both matches start at 7 p.m.
Both matches also will be broadcast on www.uclabruins.com with Darren Preston calling the action.
USC is vastly improved from last year's team that finished 12-16 overall and 9-18 in league play. The Trojans welcomed one of the nation's top recruiting classes in the Fall and are considered one of the MPSF's most dangerous teams. The rivals have split their matches the last two seasons after the Bruins enjoyed five years of series sweeps.
Last season, unranked USC upset No. 5 UCLA 3-0 in Pauley Pavilion, out-blocking its cross-town rival, 15.5-2.0 and out-hitting the Bruins .533 to .232. The victory also enabled the Trojans to claim the Kilgour Cup for the first time in eight years. The Bruins avenged that loss with a 3-0 victory at the Galen Center on Mar. 31.
Two and a half Lexus Gauntlet points also will be at stake as the two rivals continue the annual series to determine which school claims the gauntlet trophy for another year. In men's volleyball, UCLA is 10-2 in the Lexus series, 26-2 in the last 28 matches and 85-31 in the all-time series. USC leads the 2007-08 Lexus Gauntlet race, 35-10.
Following Wednesday's match, the Bruins travel to Malibu where they have not won since 2004. The Waves, ranked No. 2 with a 4-0 overall record, have defeated the Bruins in five of their last six meetings. The lone Bruin victory in that span was a 3-0 sweep in the 2006 MPSF semifinals during the Bruins' run to their 19th national championship. UCLA leads the all-time series, 71-29.
Entering the week, Pepperdine was 4-0 overall and in league play, and ranked No.2 behind BYU. The Waves were also tied with Long Beach State for first place in the MPSF race.
Bruin Notes: On Thurs., Feb. 6, UCLA will retire the jersey of former All-American and two-time Player of the Year Jeff Nygaard. Nygaard, who wore No. 9, led the Bruins to three consecutive trips to the NCAA Championship, winning titles in 1993 and '95. He was inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame in November. The Bruins will host USC at 7 p.m. that evening and the match will be broadcast on FSN Prime Ticket. ...The 31st Annual Kilgour Cup is scheduled for Sat., Feb. 9 against Pepperdine at 7 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion.