Ninth-ranked UCLA defeated sixth-ranked Long Beach State in a five-set match played on Saturday night in the Walter Pyramid. Scores of the MPSF contest were 23-25, 26-24, 26-24, 18-25, 15-13. UCLA is now 16-10 on the year and 13-9 in league action.
In set one, UCLA broke out to an early 5-3 lead. Long Beach tied the score at seven-all and then expanded the margin to 10-15. UCLA closed to 16-18 on a block by Gonzalo Quiroga and Mitch Stahl. After going down 17-21, the Bruins ran off four straight points, three coming on kills by Stahl, to even the score. The set was tied at 22 and 23 before the Beach tallied the final two points on a Bruin service error and an attack error.
Neither team could separate in the start to set two. UCLA broke a 13-all tie with three straight points coming on a block from Robart Page, a kill by Stahl and an ace by Quiroga. The Bruins went on to enjoy a19-14 edge after a Page kill. The 49ers rallied to tie the score at 22 and the home team went ahead 22-24. A Quiroga kill made it 23-24 and UCLA leveled the score at 24 on an attack error. A kill from Stahl put the Bruins up 25-24 and the decisive point followed on an attack error.
UCLA ran out to leads of 3-1, 7-5 and 8-6 in set three. A block by Trent Kersten pushed the gap to 14-11 and the Bruins moved the advantage out to 18-13. Long Beach came alive and ran off the next six points to take the lead at 18-19. The Bruins evened it at 19 on a Quiroga kill. The score was tied at 21, 22 and 23 before another Quiroga blast made it 24-23. A Kersten kill and a 49er attack error provided the deciding points in a 26-24 Bruin win.
Long Beach broke a seven-all tie with three straight points. The home team went ahead 9-13. The Bruins rallied to pull to within 16-18 on a Spencer Rowe kill and an attack error. It was as close as they would come and the Beach captured the set 18-25.
UCLA exploded out to a 5-1 advantage in set five, two points coming on Page kills. The Bruins led 8-3 after a Rowe/Kersten block. Long Beach closed to 8-7, but a series of Quiroga kills put UCLA up 9-7, 10-8, 11-10, 13-12. The 49ers tied the score at 13 on a Bruin service error. Kills by Page and then Rowe ended the drama and gave UCLA the win.
Page finished with 21 kills, his fourth 20-kill effort of the season, and added four blocks. Rowe hit .400 with 19 kills and a career-best nine digs. Quiroga added 17 kills, 10 digs, two aces and four blocks. Jackson Bantle collected a career-high 15 digs. Setter Steve O’Dell totaled a career-best 67 assists.
The Bruins return home on Thursday night to battle California Baptist at 7 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion. On Saturday night, UCLA will host No. 2 BYU in the Wooden Center at 7 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door.