Next Up — The 10th-ranked UCLA men's volleyball team (16-10, 13-9) closes out the regular season at home with matches against Cal Baptist (4-22, 2-20) on Thursday in Pauley (7 p.m.) and on Saturday versus No. 3 BYU (18-6,18-4) in the Wooden Center (7 p.m.). Wins in both matches will put the Bruins in the MPSF Tournament. The Bruins will honor the seniors before the match on Saturday night. Promotions: The first 200 UCLA students in attendance at Thursday's match will be treated to a free slice of pizza. The first 200 UCLA students in attendance at Saturday's contest will receive a pair of UCLA sunglasses.
Live Coverage — TV: Pac-12 Networks will broadcast Thursday's match. Audio Webcast/Live Stats: www.uclabruins.com. Video: Saturday's match only will be available at uclabruins.com. Fans may also follow the matches on UCLA's live Twitter feed @UCLAMensVB.
Scouting the Opponent — Cal Baptist, which plays at UCSB on Wednesday, lost 0-3 at Stanford on Friday and 0-3 at Pacific on last Saturday. BYU, which meets UCSB on Friday, dropped both matches last week at Hawai'i, losing 2-3 on Friday and 0-3 on Saturday.
A Look Back — UCLA defeated Cal Baptist 3-1 (25-22, 21-25, 25-18, 25-23) earlier this season on Mar. 27. Gonzalo Quiroga topped the Bruins with 16 kills in that match while Mitch Stahl added seven kills, four aces and seven blocks. Robart Page had 14 kills. The Lancers swept both matches against the Bruins last season (2-3 at Cal B and 1-3 at UCLA). The Bruins dropped the first meeting of the season at BYU on Mar. 29 (25-22, 22-25, 26-28, 21-25). Spencer Rowe had 19 kills and hit .429 in the contest. Steve O'Dell and Mitch Stahl added four blocks each. Gonzalo Quiroga totaled 17 kills. Last season, the Bruins defeated BYU 3-0 in Pauley on Apr. 6. The Cougars won both of last season's matches played in Provo, UT (0-3 on Feb. 9 and 2-3 on Apr. 25 in the MPSF semis).
Recapping Previous Action — Robart Page (21 kills), Spencer Rowe (19) and Gonzalo Quiroga (17) provided a three-pronged attack in the win at Long Beach State (23-25, 26-24, 26-24, 18-25, 15-13). Rowe put down a career-high 24 balls in a five-set loss at Cal State Northridge (22-25, 25-19, 26-28, 25-16, 21-23) last Thursday night. Steve O'Dell added career-highs in digs (9) and blocks (6). Trent Kersten had four blocks and a career-high seven digs.***Rowe collected19 kills in a (25-22, 22-25, 26-28, 21-25) loss at BYU on Mar. 29. O'Dell had 52 set assists and four blocks. The Bruins were outblocked by the Cougars 13.5 to 6.5 on the night.***Quiroga topped the Bruins with 16 kills in a 3-1 win at Cal Baptist on Mar. 27 (25-22, 21-25, 25-18, 25-23). Mitch Stahl added seven kills, four aces and seven blocks. Page totaled 14 kills, while posting a season-high .565 attack %.
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.
In the MPSF: A9--Cal Baptist at UCSB; A10--CSUN at Long Beach, Cal Bapt. at UCLA; A11--Stanford at UCI, BYU at UCSB, Pacific at UCSD, Hawai'i at Pepp; A12--BYU at UCLA, Long Beach at CSUN, Hawai'i at Pepp, Pacific at UCI, Stanford at UCSD.
Standings (as of Apr. 8): BYU 18-4/ Pepperdine 16-6/ Stanford 15-7/ UCSB 14-8/ UC I 14-8/ Long Beach State 13-9/ UCLA 13-9/ Hawai'i 13-9/ USC 14-10/ CSUN 9-13/ Cal Baptist 2-20/ Pacific 2-20/ UCSD 1-21
The top eight teams will advance to the MPSF Tournament, with the top four finishers serving as first-round hosts on April 19. UCLA owns two-way tiebreakers over Stanford, UCI, UCSB and USC, but not Long Beach or Hawai'i. For current MPSF standings go to mpsports.org
Trending Numbers —UCLA began the week fourth in the MPSF listings in hitting % (.304) and third in service aces/set 1.33 ... Quiroga tops the MPSF with his 0.49 service aces/set average, a mark which is flirting with Mark Williams' (2001) school record of 0.51 ... Quiroga has double-digit kills in 24 of the 26 matches this season ... He 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 in 21 matches and has gone over the 20-kill mark a team-high four times this season ... Page began the week ranked seventh in the MPSF in kills per set (3.89), a mark which would rank among the top 10 in school history in the rally scoring era (2001-present) ... Quiroga was ninth (3.71) ... Page is fifth in points per set (4.41); Quiroga is fourth (4.49) ... Spencer Rowe had a then career-best 19 kills at BYU (Mar. 29) and then topped that performance with a 24-kill effort while hitting .525 at CSUN on Apr. 3 ... Setter Steve O'Dell has returned to the active list (starting last four matches) after missing 15 contests due to injury and had career bests in digs (9) and blocks (6) at CSUN ... 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.
Career /Season Stat Check: Quiroga has taken over the top spot on the school career list for service aces (187), moving past Adam Naeve, 1997-01 (178) ... With 1,343 career kills, he is closing in on 6th place on the all-time school list held by Trevor Schirman, 1987-90 (1,374)...Quiroga has 608 career digs right behind 10th place holder Paul Nihipali, 1994-97 (612)/9th Matt Sonnichsen, 1986-89 (618) ... Quiroga's 49 aces ties for 10th on season list.
Last Three Matches — Block leaders in the last three matches: Steve O'Dell (11), Trent Kersten (11), Mitch Stahl (10), Gonzalo Quiroga (8), Spencer Rowe (5) ... Kills Leaders in last three: Rowe (62),Quiroga (49), Robart Page (32)Stahl (23) ... Ace Leaders in last three: Quiroga (4), Rowe (3) ... Dig Leaders in last three: Quiroga (26), O'Dell (20), Hagen Smith (18), Rowe (17).