Jan. 6, 2008
UCLA rallied to beat Hawai'i Saturday night in the finale of the 14th Outrigger Hotels Invitational in Honolulu, HI.
The 3-2 victory gave the Bruins the second place award with a 2-1 tournament record. Penn State won its first Outrigger title, winning all three of its matches.
In the featured match, the Bruins won 24-30, 30-28, 24-30, 30-22, 15-11 in two hours and 36 minutes in front of 3,071 fans at the Stan Sheriff Center. The Bruins raised their overall record to 2-1 and the Warriors fell to 1-2.
UCLA overcame 30 service errors, including nine in Game 2 to pull out a gut-wrenching victory. The Bruins also received a career performance from third-year sophomore Jeff Woodley who entered the match midway through Game 3. Junior Ryan Ratelle also added a career-high of eight kills and 11 points in his first career start.
In the second game, the Bruins lost an early five point lead and watched it transform into a two-point Hawai'i advantage at 24-22. The Bruins tied it a 24-24 and slugged it out until they broke a 28-all tie on an unforced UH error and a kill by sophomore Shaun Nichols.
Halfway through Game 3, UCLA Head Coach Al Scates ordered his team to switch to a more conservative serving approach. This meant jump servers would revert to more stable floaters or not jump at all. The results were encouraging as the Bruins committed just one error at the service line after the 16th point (after committing four prior to that point). Although they lost by six points, they played the final 14 points even once their serving leveled off.
The Bruins won Game 4 at the net, recording five blocks (two block assists each by Weston Dunlap, Ratelle and sub D.J. Stromath). They also hit .417 on 18 kills, while limiting the Warriors to just 13 kills and a hitting percentage of .139. Woodley and sophomore Garrett Muagututia each recorded five kills, and Dunlap added three in this game.
In Game 5, the Bruins committed just one service error and one hitting miscue in 20 swings. They outgunned the Warriors 13 kills to nine. (In fact, the Bruins recorded 25 more kills than their opponent [77-52] for the match.) After the Warriors closed the gap to 13-11, the Bruins wrapped up the match on kills by Muagututia and Woodley.
Muagututia led all players with 19 kills and 22 points, followed by 13 (.459) kills and 15 points from Dunlap. Senior Tony Ker recorded 27 digs, a school record.
Jim Clar led UH with 17 kills and 20 points, followed by 11 kills from Jacob Schkud.
Muagututia and Jamie Diefenbach were named to the Outrigger All-Tournament Team along with Clar and setter Sean Carney of Hawai'i. Max Holt, Luke Murray and Most Outstanding Player Matt Anderson were selected from Penn State.
The Bruins open the 2008 MPSF season on Jan. 11 vs. Stanford and Jan. 12 vs. Pacific. Both matches begin at 7 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion.