Tenth-ranked UCLA dropped Cal Baptist in three sets on Thursday night in Pauley Pavilion to move within one win of clinching a spot in the MPSF Tournament. Scores of the match were 25-20, 25-12, 25-23. UCLA improves its records to 17-10 overall and 14-9 in MPSF action. The Bruins end the night tied with Long Beach State for sixth place in the league standings, one match back of UCSB (15-8), a half-match behind UC Irvine (14-8) and a half-match ahead of Hawai’i (13-9).
The Bruins came out swinging in set one, hitting .667 in a 25-20 win. After falling behind 6-7, UCLA rallied to tie the score at 7 on a Spencer Rowe kill and then took the lead on a spike from Robart Page at 8-7. The Bruins upped their advantage to 16-12 behind the serve of Steve O’Dell and never led by less than three points down the stretch.
UCLA moved out to a 4-1 margin in the second set and was never headed, hitting .680 in a 25-12 victory. Kills by Rowe and Trent Kersten sealed the deal for the Bruins who totaled 25 attacks and 17 kills, without an error in the set.
Cal Baptist stormed out to a 0-4 edge in set three prompting a quick timeout from the UCLA bench. A Rowe kill evened the score at 7-all and the Bruins grabbed their first lead of the set at 8-7 after a Page block. UCLA went on to lead by as many as three points on a couple of occasions before CBU leveled the score at 14. The Lancers put some good swings together and soon owned a 16-19 lead. A Mitch Stahl spike halted the visitor’s three-point run and the Bruins went on to even the score at 20-all after scoring plays from Rowe and Kersten. A Rowe swing put the Bruins up 23-22. CBU tied it up at 23 before handing the Bruins a look at match point on a service error. Gonzalo Quiroga ended the match with his 12th kill of the evening.
Rowe, hitting .625, and Quiroga, hitting .556, tied for team-high attack honors with 12 kills. As a unit, the Bruins registered a season-best .522 hitting percentage for the contest. Kersten added five kills and three blocks. Jackson Bantle recorded eight digs. O’Dell had two service aces, a pair of blocks and 34 set assists. Stahl finished with seven kills, an ace and a block.
The Bruins are home to conclude the regular season on Saturday night against No. 3-ranked BYU. The Senior Night match will be played in the Wooden Center beginning at 7 p.m.