April 7, 2008
Seventh-ranked UCLA completes the 2008 regular season this weekend in the Bay Area with matches against Stanford on Fri., Apr. 11 and Pacific pm Sat., Apr. 12. First serve for both matches is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Live streaming video will be offered for Friday's match at www.gostanford.com and an audio broadcast will be produced for Saturday's contest at www.pacifictigers.com.
Stanford (15-10, 10-10) has improved vastly from its teams of the last few years. Last season, the Cardinal finished 3-25 overall and 2-20 in league play. This season, the team is guaranteed to make the playoffs after a drought of several years.
The Cardinal has also recorded some encouraging victories, sweeping top-ranked BYU on the road Feb. 23, and winning a conference road mach on Jan. 12 against defending NCAA champion UC Irvine.
Sophomore Evan Romero is the Cardinal kill leader, averaging 4.6 kpg, followed by senior outside hitter Matt Ceran at 3.5 kpg. Freshman Spencer McLachlin averages 3.3 kpg.
In a match against UCLA at Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 12, the Bruins prevailed in four games. Romero pounded a match-high of 22 kills and Ceran added 11, but the Bruins limited the Cardinal offense to a hitting percentage of .170 and out-blocked them 15.5-6.5. UCLA boasted four players with double-digit kills, led by sophomore Garrett Muagututia's 15.
The Bruins lead the all-time series, 59-12 and have won eight straight.
UCLA also defeated Pacific (4-22, 1-19) earlier this season, winning in three games on Jan. 12. In that match Muagututia led the Bruins with 19 kills (.571) and 21.5 points.
Last week, the Bruins split a pair of conference matches at home, defeating UC Santa Barbara in four games on Apr. 2 and falling in three games to Cal State Northridge on Apr. 4.
Tied with Pepperdine for fourth place in the league race, the Bruins can control their own fate for a home date in the MPSF quarterfinals on Sat., Apr. 19 with a pair of victories this weekend. UCLA owns the tiebreaker with its pair of victories against the Waves.
The conference title is also up for grabs. Long Beach State controls its fate, and two victories will ensure the 49ers as host of the MPSF Championship, Apr. 24 & 26. But a date with No.3 Cal State Northridge (Apr. 12) will decide the conference winner. Along with hosting privileges, the winner of the regular season title receives a bye in the quarterfinals.