The Bruins raised their overall record to 11-3, 8-2 in league play. The Matadors, who suffered their fifth straight loss, fell to 3-8 and 3-7. In the exciting third set, the Matadors fought off four set points and the Bruins held off three before a kill by UCLA’s Clayton Paullin, a CSUN hitting error and a combination block by UCLA seniors Gonzalo Quiroga and Spencer Rowe sealed the victory. There were 19 ties and six lead changes, and both teams managed to sideout above the 60 percent mark. Page led the Bruins with seven kills in the set and freshman setter Hagen Smith, making his first career start, had five key digs along with 14 set assists.
The Bruins won the first set by moving away from a 5-4 game on three kills by Page and one by Quiroga. At 19-11, the Matadors made a mild run and closed the gap to 20-15 forcing the Bruins to call their first timeout. A CSUN hitting error out of the timeout, two kills by senior Page and an ace by Quiroga ended the set. Smith set the Bruins to a hitting percentage of .316 and a 68 percent sideout ratio. Page led the hosts with seven kills in 13 swings, followed by Paullin with four kills in six attempts. Smith recorded 11 assists, a dink and four digs.
In set two, the Bruins saw a 3-0 advantage evaporate when the Matadors tied it at 4-all on a couple of hitting errors by the hosts and kills by CSUN’s Andrew Freiha and Damani Lenore. The score remained close until Bruins broke a 10-all tie on a pair of kills by Page and a hitting error by the visitors. UCLA built the lead to 22-17 on kills by Quiroga and Page, and an attack error by Freiha. After CSUN called its final timeout, two miscues by the visitors and a kill by Paullin secured the set for the Bruins. Page added another seven kills in the set, and the Bruins improved their sideout ratio to 72 percent.
Lenore led CSUN with 12 kills, two aces and 14 points, followed by 10 kills from Greg Faulkner. Paullin recorded eight kills in 15 swings without an error. Quiroga led the Bruins with 12 digs, followed by 11 from Smith and 10 from freshman Grant Chalmers, who made his first career start at libero.
After a five-match road trip, the Bruins will return home to meet UC San Diego on March 8 at 7 p.m. on the Pac-12 Networks. Tickets will be available at the door one hour prior to first serve.