Third-ranked UCLA began its road trip with a straight set win at Pacific on Sunday afternoon. Scores of the match were 25-15, 28-26, 25-20. UCLA outhit the Tigers .302 to .155 on the day and improved to 12-3 overall and 9-2 in MPSF action.
UCLA grabbed the early lead on a pair of Trent Kersten aces right out of the gate and exploded out to a 15-2 advantage. Jackson Bantle, with four kills, led a group of four freshmen who were on the court for the Bruins at times in set one. Hagen Smith, Grant Chalmers and Mitch Stahl joined in on the action. The visitors led 23-14 before putting the set away by a score of 25-15.
Set two was a different story as there were 16 ties and six lead changes. UCLA took a 5-4 lead on a Gonzalo Quiroga kill and moved to a 9-5 margin. The Tigers came back to even things up at 13. The score was still tied at 21-all when Pacific went on a run. The host team went up 25-26 before UCLA rallied to tally the final three points of the set, the final kill coming from Quiroga.
Pacific moved to an early 5-6 lead in the set three. A dump by setter Smith leveled the score at six-all. The score was even at 14 until plays by Smith and Clayton Paullin handed UCLA a 16-14 advantage. UCLA then enjoyed leads of 19-15, 22-19 before bringing home the 25-20 win on a kill by Paullin.
Bantle finished with a season-high 10 kills and had just one error on 17 swings for a .529 percentage. Quiroga topped the Bruins in kills with 15 and aces with three and hit .522. Smith totaled 32 set assists, eight digs and a block. Paullin had six kills and four blocks. Kersten blocked five balls to go along with his pair of aces. Chalmers had a team-best nine digs.
UCLA will complete the two-match swing through the Bay Area with a battle on Monday evening at 5 p.m. at No. 9 Stanford. The match will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.