March 26, 2008
Eighth-ranked UCLA, winner of four of its last five matches, travels to San Diego and Long Beach this week for a pair of key MPSF matches.
The Bruins visit UC San Diego on Fri., Mar. 28 before traveling north to face Long Beach State at The Pyramid on Sat., Mar. 29. Both matches begin at 7 p.m.
UCLA will not originate a radio broadcast from either site this weekend. LiveStats will be offered for the UCSD match at www.ucsdtritons.com. On Saturday, fans can access www.longbeachstate.com and look for the 49er All Access links on the lower right portion of the page.
All three teams enter this weekend's schedule with victories in their last match.
UC San Diego (7-15, 3-13) defeated Hope International 3-0 on Mar. 14 before its quarter break. The Tritons hit .410 as a team and limited the Royals to an attack percentage of .111. UCSD's Frank Fritsch led his team with 10 kills (.562).
In its match against the Bruins on Jan. 17, UCSD lost 3-0, but Jason Spangler connected on 16 kills and Russ Hardy added 10 (.438). The Bruins held Fritsch to eight kills and an attack percentage of .056.
The Bruins have won 45 consecutive matches against the Tritons in the all-time series.
Long Beach State (19-3, 14-2) enters the week ranked No.3 after a pair of home league victories against BYU last weekend.
The Beach's hitting combination of senior Paul Lotman and sophomore Dean Bittner combined for 78 kills against BYU. For his efforts, Bittner was named AVCA and MPSF Player of the Week after smashing 40 kills and recording six aces and seven total blocks against BYU.
On Jan. 18, the Bruins fell 3-1 at home to the 49ers. In that match, The Beach out-gunned UCLA 65-56 in total kills and out-served the Bruins five aces to none. Lotman hammered 25 kills (.321), and Bittner added 17.
Currently, Long Beach State sits atop the MPSF standings with a one-and-a-half game lead over CS Northridge at 13-3. After two losses last weekend, BYU fell to third place at 12-4.
In the all-time series against the 49ers, the Bruins lead 71-30, but have lost five straight at The Pyramid. UCLA's last victory at Long Beach was on Jan. 25, 2002; in fact, since The Pyramid's opening in 1996, the Bruins are just 2-7 there against the 49ers.
Prior to its quarter break, UCLA split a conference series with BYU. The Cougars won 3-0 on Mar. 13, but the Bruins avenged that setback with a 3-1 victory on Mar. 14. Junior Sean O'Malley pounded 32 kills in the series, but sparked a more balanced attack on Mar. 14 with 17 kills when three other Bruins recorded double-digit kills, led by sophomore Garrett Muagututia's 18 (.303). Senior Tony Ker added a match-high 21 kills, and his brother Kevin recorded 39 set assists off the bench.