Jan. 16, 2007
Third-ranked UCLA continues its season-opening road swing this week with a pair of key conference matches.
On Wed., Jan. 17, UCLA (2-3, 0-2) meets UC Santa Barbara (4-1, 2-0) and on Fri., Jan. 19 the Bruins visit Cal State Northridge (2-3, 1-1). First serve for both matches is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Last weekend, the Bruins dropped a pair of league matches against No.2 BYU on the road. In Friday's match, senior Paul George led UCLA with 15 kills (.700) and one solo block. In Saturday's match, sophomore Jamie Diefenbach led the Bruins with 13 kills (.375) and seven total blocks. Net mate Shaun Nichols added 11 kills (.647) and two total blocks.
"We had four players competing (for the middle blockers' positions), but we found two middles on Saturday," said Head Coach Al Scates. "(Diefenbach and Nichols) were two really bright spots for us," Scates said.
UC Santa Barbara (4-1, 2-0) defeated Pacific and Stanford over the weekend in its conference openers and is currently tied for first place in the MPSF race. Senior opposite Evan Patak hammered 40 kills in the 3-2 victory at Pacific and earned Player of the Week laurels from the MPSF. Patak currently leads the league in kills per game at 6.88 and aces at 1.12. He recorded 18 kills against the Bruins two weeks ago.
The Gauchos lost 3-0 to the Bruins on Jan. 5 in the second round of the Elephant Bar Invitational. UCLA leads the series against UCSB, 110-26, and won three matches against the Gauchos last season.
Cal State Northridge (2-3, 1-1) began its conference season with a split, defeating Stanford in four games on Jan. 12 and falling in three at Pacific on Jan. 13. Junior Isaac Kneubuhl led the Matadors with 26 kills in the weekend series. The Bruins lead the overall series, 52-7 and have won three straight at CSUN.
The Bruins will end their road swing next week, hosting Pepperdine on Jan. 24 and USC in the 30th Annual Kilgour Cup on Jan. 27.