Next Up — The ninth-ranked UCLA men's volleyball team (15-8, 12-7) will travel to take on No. 2 BYU (16-4, 16-2) on Saturday night at 7 p.m. PT. The next home match is on Apr. 10 in a return contest against Cal Baptist. Note: The April 12 home match vs. BYU will be played in the Wooden Center.
Live Coverage — Audio webcasts: www.byutv.org --- Live stats: byucougars.com --- BYUtv is slated to broadcast the match on Saturday. Fans may also follow the matches on UCLA's live Twitter feed @UCLAMensVB.
Scouting the Opponent — BYU, which hosts UCSB on Friday night, defeated Cal Baptist last Saturday night 3-0 (25-20, 26-24, 25-22). BYU sits atop the MPSF standings and began the week with a 9-0 record in home matches. It has won 10 of its last 11 matches overall, including the last four straight. The lone setbacks in MPSF play are a 2-3 defeat at Pepperdine (Jan. 31) and a 1-3 loss at Long Beach State (Mar. 7). BYU entered the week ranked second in the nation in blocks per set (2.93) and first in the MPSF.
A Look Back — The Bruins will be playing BYU for the first time in 2014. Last year, BYU won a Feb. 9 match in Provo by a score of 0-3. The Bruins captured the return match in Pauley on Apr. 6 by a 3-0 score. The Cougars won the rubber match, 2-3, in an MPSF semifinal contest on Apr. 25 in Provo, UT.
Recapping Previous Action — Gonzalo Quiroga topped the Bruins with 16 kills in a 3-1 win over Cal Baptist on Thursday (25-22, 21-25, 25-18, 25-23). Mitch Stahl added seven kills, four aces and seven blocks. Robart Page totaled 14 kills, while posting a season-high .565 attack %. ***Quiroga led UCLA with 15 kills in a 1-3 loss to USC (20-25, 25-19, 17-25, 23-25)on Mar. 15. Jackson Bantle had a career-best 12 kills and 11 digs in the match. ***UCLA was dealt a 1-3 setback on Mar. 11 in Pauley by No. 5 Pepperdine (18-25, 30-28, 23-25, 22-25). The team hit .156 for the match. Quiroga had 16 kills, hitting .205. Setter Hagen Smith had 42 set assists and five blocks in the contest. Spencer Rowe totaled a season-best 10 kills and matched his highs for aces (1) and digs (5) while hitting .538. ***Page blasted 12 kills in the win against UCSD (25-18, 25-21, 25-15) on Mar. 8. UCLA outhit the Tritons .414 to .079 and outblocked the visitors 12.0 to 3.5. Quiroga added nine kills and four aces. ***Quiroga was the lone Bruin in double figure kills (12) in the loss at UC Santa Barbara (20-25, 19-25, 20-25) on Mar. 5. The Bruins hit .269 for the match.
Coach Speraw: Year Two at UCLA — John Speraw (UCLA '95) is in his second season as the head coach at his alma mater. In year one, the Bruins went 21-11 and advanced to the semifinals of the MPSF Tournament. In 10 seasons at UC Irvine, Speraw led the Anteaters to three NCAA championships (2007, 2009, 2012), and a 199-106 (.646) overall record. On Mar. 25, 2013, he was named head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team for the next quadrennial ending at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero. In the summer of 2012, he had served as an assistant coach for the USA Men's National Team, which advanced to the quarterfinals of the London Olympics. Speraw earned AVCA National Coach of the Year in 2006 and was given the USA Olympic Committee's National Coach of the Year award in 2007.
Trending Numbers —UCLA began the week sixth in the MPSF listings in hitting % .295 and fourth in service aces/set 1.36 ... Gonzalo Quiroga tops the MPSF with his 0.52 service aces/set average ... Quiroga has double-digit kills in 21 of the 23 matches this season ... Quiroga has at least three service aces in eight matches this season (last time, three at Cal Baptist on Mar. 27) ... Robart Page has double-digit kills in19 matches and has gone over the 20-kill mark a team-high three times this season ... Page began the week ranked fifth in the MPSF in kills per set (4.05), Quiroga was ninth (3.73) ... Page is fourth in points per set (4.64) and Quiroga is fifth (4.54) ... The nine-match winning streak earlier this season, snapped at Pepperdine, was the team's longest under coach Speraw ... The Bruins had an eight-match home win streak stopped by Long Beach on Feb. 12 ... UCLA's 9-1 overall start was its best since the 2012 squad opened by winning 12 of its first 13 matches (10 in a row overall and the first seven MPSF matches), the lone loss was to UCI, coached by Speraw ... The last Bruin winning streak longer than 10 in a row was the 14 straight wins which ended the 2006 championship season ... Before this season, the last time UCLA was ranked #1 by the AVCA was Mar. 5, 2012 - week 9.
Last Three Matches — Block leaders in the last three matches: Mitch Stahl (12), Spencer Rowe (11), Hagen Smith (6) ... Kills Leaders in last three: Quiroga (47), Robart Page (27), Rowe (21)... Ace Leaders in last three: Quiroga (6), Stahl (5), Steve O'Dell (3), Jackson Bantle (3) ... Dig Leaders in last three: Bantle (25), Quiroga (17), Smith (17).
Coming Up — The Bruins remain on the road next week -- at CSUN (Apr. 3) and at No. 4 Long Beach St. on (Apr. 5).
In the MPSF: Standings as of M28 am --- BYU 16-2/ Pepperdine 14-5/ Long Beach State 13-6/ UCSB 13-6/ UCLA 12-7/ Stanford 12-7/ UC I 12-8/ Hawaii 11-9/ CSUN 6-13/ Cal Baptist 2-18/ Pacific 1-17/ UCSD 1-19 ----- Action coming up --- M28--USC at Pacific, Pepp at Stanford, Long Beach at UCI, UCSB at BYU; M29--Pepp at Pacific, CSUN at UCSD, UCLA at BYU. For Current MPSF Standings go to mpsports.org