#3 UCLA Cruises to a Three-Set Win over UC Santa Barbara
Jan. 27, 2012
Los Angeles, Calif. - The third-ranked UCLA men's volleyball team recorded their sixth straight shutout and seventh consecutive win on Friday night, as they defeated the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos in three sets.
With the win, the Bruins improved to 9-1 overall and 4-0 in MPSF play, which is their best start to conference play since the 2002 team started off 4-0 in the conference. UC Santa Barbara dropped to 2-5 on the year and 0-3 in the conference.
As they have all season, UCLA jumped out to an early lead in the first set as they went up 15-9 on the Gauchos to begin the match. From there the Bruins continued to increase their lead by taking advantage of UCSB attack errors and converting kills of their own, eventually increasing their lead to 22-12 before taking the first set 25-18. The second set would prove to be much of the same as the Bruins again took an early 14-9 lead over UCSB. Again UCLA took advantage of errors by UCSB and played strong at the net to limit the Gauchos' chances as they took set two by the score of 25-20.
Looking like they were on their way to yet another sweep, the Bruins again jumped on UCSB 14-10 to start the third set. But this time the Gauchos would fight back and eventually tied the set at 14-14 behind a couple of kills from Blaine Nielsen. However after a UCLA timeout, the Bruins regained the lead after Weston Dunlap and Gonzalo Quiroga put away back-to-back kills. The Bruins would not look back from there and took the third set 25-19 to take the match in three sets.
Senior Jeremy Casebeer led UCLA with 10 kills and three total blocks on the night to give him 12 points. Senior Thomas Amberg had another big at the net, recording six block assists to go with five kills to give him nine points. It ended up being a historic night for Amberg, as with his three total blocks he moved past Paul Johnson for the most total blocks in UCLA history since the advent of rally scoring in 2001. Amberg now has 368 blocks and 333 block assists in career, both UCLA records in the rally scoring era. Kyle Caldwell again had a great night setting the ball, registering 28 set assists and leading UCLA to a .432 hitting percentage. Caldwell and senior Nick Vogel also played well at the net, recording four block assists each, helping the Bruins outblock the Gauchos 12.0-6.0 in the match. Finally, UCLA was able to hold UC Santa Barbara to just a .125 hitting percentage on the night.
The Bruins return to the court on Wednesday, Feb. 1 as they travel to Malibu, Calif. to take on the Pepperdine Waves.
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