Feb. 26, 2008
Seventh-ranked UCLA, nearing the end of its six match road trip, will attempt to stop its slump this weekend in Muncie, IN, with a pair of non-conference matches against host Ball State, Feb. 29 and March 1. First serve for both matches is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (EST) at Worthen Arena. From courtside, Ball State will originate a live audio broadcast at ballstatesports.com.
Following a slow start in which they lost five of their first six matches, the Cardinals have won nine of their last 10 and cracked the AVCA Top 15 poll at No. 14. Their only loss in that span came on the road in five games at Stanford on Feb. 2.
During their streak, Ball State has defeated Lewis (3-2, Jan. 25), Pacific (3-1, Feb. 1), No. 14 George Mason (3-2, Feb. 8) and No. 8 Ohio State (3-1, Feb. 15), among other teams.
On Jan. 3, the Bruins defeated the Cardinals 3-1 in the first match of the Outrigger Hotels Invitational in Hawaii. UCLA sophomore Garrett Muagututia led the Bruins with 21 kills, followed by 11 (.364) from Sean O'Malley and 10 (.562) from Jamie Diefenbach. The Bruins served nine aces in that match.
Fifth-year senior Patrick Durbin leads Ball State with a 4.25 kpg average and 4.69 ppg, both nationally ranked figures. Durbin did not play against the Bruins in Hawaii.
The Bruins last week lost twice on the road, continuing a slide that began with a five-game loss to Hawaii on Feb. 14. They avenged that loss on Feb. 15, but were defeated by UCSB 3-1 on Feb. 20 and CS Northridge 3-1 on Feb. 22.
In last Friday's loss, Muagututia pounded a career-high of 31 kills (.480) and O'Malley added 10, but no other player had more than seven. The Bruins also committed 28 service errors and were aced six times, a seasonhigh tying mark.
The Bruins lead the all-time series with the Cardinals 20-1 with the one loss coming at Ball State on Mar. 3, 1995. That loss was the only blemish on the Bruins' NCAA championship season when they finished 31-1. They avenged that defeat later in the season by beating the Cardinals 3-0 in the NCAA semifinals at Springfield, MA.