April 13, 2008
The seventh-ranked UCLA men's volleyball team defeated Pacific in three games Saturday at the Spanos Center in Stockton.
The Bruins won 30-24, 30-23, 30-23 in 89 minutes before 186 fans. The victory enabled the Bruins to finish with a 17-13 overall record, 12-10 in MPSF play. The Tigers fell to 4-24, 1-21.
The Bruins also learned that they will host an MPSF quarterfinal playoff match against Pepperdine on Sat., Apr. 19 at 7 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion. The Waves lost in five at home against ninth-place Hawaii and tied with the Bruins for fourth place. UCLA won the tiebreaker with its two league victories against Pepperdine.
Against Pacific, Game 1 started well for the Bruins as they surged to an early 7-2 lead behind a service ace from junior Ryan Ratelle. Errors plagued Pacific over the next few points and UCLA jumped out to a 10-4 lead using three consecutive Tiger errors as a launching point.
After a timeout the Tiger offense woke up and was able to narrow the gap to 12-7 behind a kill from senior Pekka Seppanen. With a 15-10 lead, UCLA asserted its dominance, scoring 10 of the next 20 points to continue its lead, 25-20. A kill by junior Sean O'Malley gave the Bruins Game 1.
In Game 2, the Bruins continued to dominate, taking a 10-4 lead before a UOP timeout changed the momentum. The Tigers rallied to score five of the next seven points, and trailed 12-9 before the Bruins established themselves again and took a 24-17 lead. Several more errors hurt the Tigers' comeback chances and a service error by Pacific gave UCLA game point, 29-23. Sophomore Garrett Muagututia spiked a ball from the outside to end the game, 30-23.
With their backs against the wall, Pacific roared out to a 4-0 lead behind a service ace from Seppanen in the third game. UCLA was forced to call a timeout. The Bruins mounted a scoring run of their own, but the Tigers answered with and offensive resurgence. Consecutive kills by sophomore Jason Borchin, Seppanen, and Blake Gentry gave Pacific a 9-4 lead.
The honeymoon would not last long however, as UCLA battled back with two kills from O'Malley to come within one, 14-13. A service ace by D.J. Stromath, gave the Bruins a 16-14 lead. Pacific never recovered, and its momentum left the floor as the Tigers fell behind, 23-17. UCLA's firepower proved to be too much as Pacific struggled to mount any sort of comeback. The Bruins closed out the game, match, and the Tigers' season, 30-23.
O'Malley led the Bruins with 18 kills (.417), followed by nine kills each from Muagututia and Ratelle.
Senior Simon Chen-Byerley led the Tigers with 10 kills (.333).