Seventh-ranked UCLA dropped a four-set decision to No. 5 Pepperdine in an MPSF match played on Tuesday night in Pauley Pavilion. Scores of the match were 18-25, 30-28, 23-25, 22-25. The Bruins are now 14-7 overall and 11-6 in MPSF play.
The Waves outhit the Bruins .328 to .156 for the match and out dug the home team 49-33. UCLA hit .200 or below as a team in three of the four sets. Pepperdine held a slight edge in total team blocks of 11.5 to 8.5.
In set one, Pepperdine gained the early momentum and moved out to a 5-10 advantage. The Waves stretched the margin out to 6-14 before UCLA climbed back into the set. Behind the serve of freshman Jackson Bantle, the Bruins registered five straight points to close to within 11-14. Robart Page and Mitch Stahl combined on a block and each had a kill during the run. UCLA still trailed 14-17 after a Spencer Rowe kill. However, the Waves would not be caught and went on to own a 18-25 decision.
UCLA fell behind 1-4 in set two, but rallied to tie the score at four behind some nice play from freshman setter Hagen Smith. The Bruins moved out to a 12-8 lead following a Stahl kill and led 17-12 after a Gonzalo Quiroga spike. Pepperdine came back and tied the score at 19-all. It would be even at each point up to 28. The Bruins held off two Pepperdine set points to take the second set on a kill by Quiroga and an ace from Bantle by a 30-28 count.
The score was even through the first part of set three and was tied at points 11 through 15. A Page kill halted a three-point Wave run and made the score 16-18. The Bruins closed to 21-22 on a Smith ace and then tied the score at 22 on a Quiroga kill. A Page kill leveled the score at 23-each, but it was the last point of the set for the Bruins who lost 23-25.
UCLA stormed out to a 3-0 lead in set four behind the serve of Quiroga. The Bruins still led 7-4 after a Page block. Pepperdine caught the Bruins at 15 and took the lead for good at 16-17. Kills from Quiroga and Rowe brought the home squad within two at 18-20 and 19-21, respectively. UCLA held off one match point, but could not stave off a second and Pepperdine captured the set 22-25.
Quiroga was the UCLA kill leader with 16. He hit .205 on the night. Page added 13 kills and hit .067. Rowe had a season-high 10 kills and posted a .529 hitting percentage to go with three block assists. Smith totaled 42 set assists, four digs, an ace and a season-best five block assists. Ian Sequeira led UCLA with nine digs.
UCLA is back in action on Saturday night against No. 9-ranked USC. First serve will be at 8 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion. Tickets will be available at the door.