Los Angeles - UCLA was ranked second in the AVCA Division I-II Men's Coaches Top 15 Preseason Poll the American Volleyball Coaches Association announced Wednesday afternoon.
Two-time defending national champ UC Irvine came in at No. 1 and was followed by UCLA, BYU and LBSU. The Bruins received three first-place votes. Eleven of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation's 13 teams were ranked, with the first six spots filled by MPSF squads.
Coach John Speraw’s Bruins bring back nine letterwinners, including four starters, from last year's 21-11 team that advanced to the 2013 MPSF Tournament semifinals. Senior outside hitter, Gonzalo Quiroga, a first-team AVCA All-American, and senior opposite Spencer Rowe, a second-team AVCA All-America selection, head the list. Quiroga hit .329 last season and served 52 aces. Rowe hit .459, which ranked third in the conference, and led the team in blocks with a 0.91 per set average. The Bruins will also welcome back 7-0 senior outside hitter Robart Page who banged down 3.2 kills per set while hitting .290. Junior middle blocker Clayton Paullin hit .376 last year, second-best among the regular starters.
UCLA is set to open the season with an exhibition match on Dec. 31 against the University of British Columbia (UBC Okanagan) at 2 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins officially open up the new season at the UC Santa Barbara Invitational Tournament on Jan. 3 and 4. The first home match of the regular season is on Jan. 17 versus Stanford in Pauley Pavilion. Tickets will be available at the entrance.