March 29, 2008
Eighth-ranked UCLA snapped a five-match skid at The Pyramid and upset No.3 Long Beach State in four games Saturday night.
The Bruins won 30-26, 30-23, 17-30, 30-28 in one hour and 49 minutes in front of 1,617 fans. The victory raised the Bruins' overall record to 15-11, 10-8 in MPSF play. In losing its second straight match, The Beach fell to 19-5-14-4.
In the MPSF race, the Bruins remained a victory behind fourth-place Pepperdine, which raised its league record to 11-8 with a five-game win against Pacific. Long Beach State fell into a second place tie with BYU at 14-4.
UCLA came out strong to begin the match, jumping to a 16-9 lead in Game 1. The 49ers pulled to within 25-23, but the Bruins scored two quick points to push the advantage to 27-23, before closing out the 30-26 win. The Bruins hit .375 (13-4-24) in the game as O'Malley recorded five kills.
Game 2 was much of the same as UCLA led 16-13 at the midpoint. Long Beach pulled to within 21-20, but the Bruins closed out the game with a 9-3 run to win 30-23. Once again O'Malley led the way with seven kills as UCLA hit .417 (18-3-36).
Long Beach showed signs of life winning Game 3 easily 30-17. The 49ers jumped out 8-3 and 14-7 as they hit .643 (19-1-28) in the game. LBSU's Paul Lotman led the 49ers with eight kills and the 49ers limited the Bruins to a .114 (12-8-35) percentage.
Game 4 saw UCLA take a 17-13 lead before four quick 49er points tied the game at 17-17. Long Beach led 26-25, but the Bruins strung together three points to push the lead to 28-26. Following a UCLA point, a Lotman kill cut the deficit to 29-28, but the Bruins' D.J. Stromath put away the final ball in the 30-28 triumph.
Statistically, the 49ers outplayed the Bruins: outgunning them 65 kills to 57, out-blocking them 9-4 and out-serving them seven aces to six. But The Beach also made more mistakes: three more hitting errors and six more serving miscues.
Lotman and Dean Bittner led the 49ers with 24 and 20 kills, respectively.
The Bruins return home this week for league matches against UC Santa Barbara (Apr. 2) and first-place Cal State Northridge (Apr. 4).