This Week — The seventh-ranked UCLA men's volleyball team travels to Honolulu, HI for three matches in the Outrigger Hotels Volleyball Invitational against ranked teams from Penn State (#11) on Thursday at 6 p.m. PT, Ohio State (#12) on Friday at 6 p.m. PT and Hawai'i (#14) on Saturday at 9 p.m. PT. The matches will be played in the Stan Sheriff Center. UCLA will be making its 14th appearance in the tournament and owns a 32-6 overall record in the event.
Live Coverage — Fans can follow the matches on UCLA's live Twitter feed @UCLAMensVB. An audio webcast of matches vs. UH will be available at www.espn1420am.com and live streaming video at uhstreaming.oceanic.com. For live stats go to Hawaii Athletics.com.
In The Rankings — The Bruins (0-1) are No. 7 in the AVCA national rankings this week after dropping their season-opening match to fourth-ranked Stanford in the UCSB Asics Invitational.
Scouting the Opponents — Penn State, Ohio State and Hawai'i will each be playing their first matches of the season in the tournament. PSU has five starters back from a team (23-8 record) which captured its 15th straight EIVA title a year ago and lost to BYU in the 2013 NCAA semifinals. The Ohio State University welcomes back three starters from a team which posted a 19-8 record last season. Hawai'i has five starters returning from a team which was 11-17 in 2013.
The Series — UCLA leads the all-time series with Penn State, 27-6, Ohio State 15-1, and Hawai'i 60-22. The Bruins have won eight Outrigger titles, including the last three. UCLA defeated Penn State and Ohio State, each in five sets, in last year's event. UH bested the Bruins, also in five sets, a season ago in the event finale.
Recapping the Previous Week — UCLA dropped its season-opener in four sets to Stanford in the seventh-place match at the UC Santa Barbara Asics Invitational. Senior outside hitter Gonzalo Quiroga, who averaged 3.68 kills per set in 2013, topped the Bruin attack with 14 kills, hit .333 and added two aces. Freshman Mitch Stahl recorded 12 kills and four block assists. Senior middle blocker Spencer Rowe, who led the Bruins with a .459 hitting percentage last season, chipped in with eight kills and three block assists. Sophomore Steve O'Dell had 44 set assists and three aces in the match against the Cardinal. Freshman libero/setter Hagen Smith (6 digs) and redshirt freshman middle blocker John Zappia (6 kills) each saw their initial action against the Cardinal. In exhibition pool play matches on January 3, UCLA bested CSUN 2-1 and UCSD 2-0, while dropping matches to IPFW 2-0 and Long Beach State 2-0.
John Speraw: Year Two at UCLA — John Speraw (UCLA '95) begins 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, including the 2012 title, 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.
Coming Up — The Bruins return home next week to begin MPSF play against Stanford on Friday (1/17 at 3 p.m.) and UOP on Saturday (1/18 at 7 p.m.). Pacific opened the season with a 3-1 win over CS Northridge. Both matches are in Pauley Pavilion. For ticket information, please call 310-UCLA-WIN.