Bruins Win Ninth Straight By Defeating Trojans in Three Sets
Feb. 3, 2012
Los Angeles, Calif. - The third-ranked UCLA Bruins made it nine straight wins and remained undefeated in the MPSF conference as they swept crosstown rivals USC at the Galen Center on Friday night.
UCLA improved to 11-1 overall and 6-0 in MPSF play with the win while the Trojans dropped to 5-4 overall and 4-4 in conference play. The Bruins also broke a five game losing streak to the Trojans and earned their first win at USC since 2007. Set scores were 27-25, 25-15 and 25-23.
UCLA jumped out to an early 7-4 lead in the first set, but USC slowly chipped away and eventually tied the set at 10-10. The Trojans would take the lead at 12-10 and eventually got ahead 23-21, leaving the Bruins in danger of falling down a set. Gonzalo Quiroga and USC's Steven Shandrick then traded kills to make it 24-22, giving USC two set points. But the Bruins would prove to be resilient as Weston Dunlap and Kyle Caldwell combined to make two huge back-to-back blocks to stave off the Trojans' set points and extend the set. After the two sides traded kills again, Dunlap and Quiroga hammered home two straight kills to take the first set 27-25 and a 1-0 lead in the match.
The second set was all UCLA, as they took the momentum from the first set and started fast. UCLA took advantage of USC attack errors and got some stellar all-around play from Caldwell and Thomas Amberg to take a commanding 10-4 lead. From there, the Trojans would not get within five points for the rest of the set as the Bruins cruised to a 25-15 second set win. Caldwell led the way with two service aces, two kills and 10 assists in the set while Thomas Amberg and Nick Vogel combined for two solo blocks and three block assists to neutralize the Trojans at the net. Quiroga, Dunlap and Jeremy Casebeer all contributed numerous kills as well to help UCLA to a 2-0 lead in the match.
The third set was tightly contested to begin before UCLA gained a little breathing room at 10-7 after a Weston Dunlap kill and a Gonzalo Quiroga solo block. The Bruins would keep their three-point lead at 13-10 before taking advantage of two USC attack errors and getting a block from Amberg and Casebeer to take a comfortable 16-11 lead. Things were looking good for the Bruins but USC would not go quietly, slowly cutting into the deficit and then forcing three consecutive UCLA attack errors to tie the set at 19-19. However, that would be as close as USC would get, as the Bruins took the next three points to make it 23-20 and then finished off the Trojans with a Thomas Amberg kill to take the match in three sets.
Gonzalo Quiroga led the Bruins with 10 kills in the match and added one solo block and two block assists to give him 12 points. Weston Dunlap was second to Quiroga with 11 points after earning seven kills, an ace and six block assists. Nick Vogel, Kyle Caldwell and Thomas Amberg had an outstanding match at the net, as they combined for four solo blocks and 12 block assists while being a big part of the reason why USC hit only .041 in the match. Overall, the Bruins earned a 15.5-7.5 advantage in blocks and did not record a reception error the entire match. Tanner Jansen led the Trojans with 12 kills on the night.
Before the match, UCLA head coach Al Scates was honored by USC for his over 50 years of service and contributions to the game of volleyball.
The Bruins will now head north up the freeway as they take on the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos on Fri., Feb. 10 at 7 pm.
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