Jan. 15, 2008
The fourth-ranked UCLA men's volleyball team continues its four-match conference home stand with MPSF contests this week against UC San Diego on Thurs., Jan. 17 and fifth-ranked Long Beach State on Fri., Jan. 18.
First-serve for both matches starts at 7 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion. Darren Preston will call the action on www.uclabruins.com . Friday's match will be High School/Club Team Night. Please call 310-206-3444 to register a team.
Last week the Bruins defeated Stanford and Pacific in their home conference openers, raising their overall record to 4-1 and their MPSF record to 2-0. Three other league teams won their conference series, including Long Beach State, which has started the season 4-0. Top-ranked BYU and No. 2 Pepperdine won their league series over the weekend, producing a four-way tie for first place.
Against an improved Cardinal team on Jan. 11, the Bruins spread their offense around, courtesy of junior setter Matt Wade, who handed out 52 assists and recorded six digs. Sophomore Garrett Muagututia led the Bruins with 15 kills (.345), followed by 12 kills each from quick hitters Jamie Diefenbach and Brett Perrine. Junior Sean O'Malley came off the bench and contributed five kills (.400) at outside hitter.
Against Pacific the next night, O'Malley got the start and responded with 12 kills (.455), 10 digs and three total blocks as the Bruins won in three games. Muagututia led all players with 19 kills (.571) and 21.5 points. As a team, the Bruins served five aces and out-blocked the Tigers 11.5-6.0.
After defeating UC Santa Cruz 3-1 in its opener on Jan. 4, UC San Diego dropped a pair of conference home matches to No. 1 BYU last week. The Tritons did manage to steal a 30-27 victory in Game 3 on Jan. 11. Sophomore Jason Spangler leads UCSD with an average of 5.0 kills per game and a 2.45 digs per game average.
Long Beach State defeated Hawai'i twice last week, its first sweep on the islands in 16 years. Senior outside hitter Paul Lotman slammed 47 kills in two matches (6.7 kpg) and earned MPSF co-Player of the Week honors. Sophomore Dean Bittner added 38 kills in two matches. The 49ers limited the Warriors' attack to a percentage of .188 in the series.
Bruin Notes: On Feb. 6, UCLA will retire the jersey of former All-American and 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 with another UCLA Hall of Famer, Karch Kiraly, working as a commentator.