Fifth-seeded UCLA dropped a MPSF Tournament Quarterfinal match at UC Santa Barbara in five sets on Saturday night. Scores of the contest were 25-23, 20-25, 25-18, 20-25, 12-15. UCLA’s record fell to 18-11 with the setback.
In set one, the Bruins started strong by taking a 5-0 edge behind the serve of Steve O’Dell. The Gauchos narrowed the gap to 8-6 before another Bruin spurt made it 12-6. The home team climbed back in the set at 16-13 and soon closed to 21-20. A Robart Page kill made it 22-20 and an attack error moved the difference to 23-20. Trent Kersten’s kill pushed UCLA’s lead out to 24-21. UCSB closed to 24-23 before a Gonzalo Quiroga spike clinched the set at 25-23.
The Gauchos moved out to an early 1-3 lead and then expanded the margin to 5-11. UCLA cut the deficit to 11-15 on a kill by Clayton Paullin and an attack error. UCSB went back out to a 19-23 advantage and took set two by a 20-25 score.
The serve of O’Dell keyed UCLA’s run out to a 3-0 margin to begin set three. However, UCSB quickly tied the score at four. A block by Spencer Rowe and Paullin handed UCLA a 7-6 lead which it never surrendered. A Rowe kill made it 16-12 and then a Page kill took the score to 23-18. The two seniors then teamed up for a block to provide a 24-18 lead. A UCSB error gave set three to the Bruins.
The Bruins owned a 6-2 lead in set four after a kill by Paullin. A Quiroga kill made it 9-4 for UCLA. A Page and Mitch Stahl block put the Bruins in front 14-7. The Gauchos then stormed back to score six of the next seven points and closed to 15-13. After evening the set at 17-all, UCSB took the lead at 17-18 and never gave it back. The Gauchos held on to win set four 20-25.
Paullin’s kill broke a 4-4 start to set five. UCLA took a 6-4 lead on a Page kill. The Gauchos came back to level the score at seven. Rowe put the Bruins in front, 8-7, with a kill. Santa Barbara tied it at 8 and then took the lead at 8-9 to force a timeout. UCSB was in the midst of a five-point run which lifted the home team into an 8-12 lead. That streak was snapped on a service error, but UCSB scored again for a 9-13 edge. Three-straight from the Bruins, on an attack error and kills from Page and Stahl, made it 12-13. However, the next two points went to UCSB for the win.
Quiroga paced the Bruin attack with 18 kills and added 13 digs. Rowe totaled 10 kills and six blocks. Page made 11 kills, four blocks and had the lone UCLA service ace. Stahl finished with seven kills, two blocks and hit .385. O’Dell recorded 44 set assists. Jackson Bantle registered 12 digs. Paullin came off the bench to have eight kills, two blocks and hit .583.
UCSB will advance to meet top-seeded BYU next week. The Cougars defeated USC 3-0. Second-seeded Pepperdine advanced to meed third-seeded Stanford in the other MPSF semifinal. The Waves beat Long Beach State 3-1. Stanford held off UC Irvine 3-2.