Bruins Ace Tigers in Four
Feb. 6, 2009
Eighth-ranked UCLA, aching to climb the national rankings, recorded its first conference series sweep of the season, dispatching Pacific in four sets Friday night.
The Bruins won 25-30, 30-22, 30-25, 30-16 in just under two hours before 586 fans in Pauley Pavilion. For the first time in 2009, the Bruins own a winning record, lifting their overall mark to 6-5 and their league record to 4-3. Pacific fell to 2-9, 0-6.
UCLA's bench proved to be the difference once again. Junior Garrett Muagututia, the Bruins' kill and points leader, left after one game and a negative hitting percentage, replaced by Brett Perrine, who responded with eight kills (.400), three aces and one block assist for 11.5 points. Freshman Thomas Amberg came off the bench (after starting last night) and added eight kills (.429) and four block assists.
The result was a rebound from a first set loss that ignited the Bruins' serving and blocking attacks. After being out-blocked 2-1 in the first set, the Bruins' recorded 11.5 blocks and 13 aces over the next three sets to claim the match. The Bruins' 13 aces were a season-high; they also hit .371, including .632 (14-2-19) in the final set.
The Bruins mounted momentum-changing rallies in the second and third sets, overcoming an early two-point deficit in Set 2 to go on a 6-1 run. They kept the Tigers at a safe distance to win by eight.
In the third set, UCLA climbed back from a four-point hole at 18-22 to knot the game at 24-24 after a kill by senior Sean O'Malley and a block by senior Matt Wade and freshman Nick Vogel. Senior Ryan Ratelle served five straight points and the Bruins were up, 28-25 before the Tigers got their serve back too late.
In Set 4, the Bruins never trailed, serving six aces and recording four blocks in limiting the Tigers to a hitting percentage of .190. Perrine slammed four kills and two aces and O'Malley added three kills and an ace.
Freshman Jack Polales led the Bruins with a career-high of 19 kills (.455) an ace and two total blocks for 21 points. O'Malley continued his hot weekend with 17 kills (.469), two aces and three block assists for 21.5 points. Freshman libero Jamey Ker recorded his second straight double-digit dig night with 12, and senior setter Matt Wade added 55 assists, a kill (.500), two aces and five total blocks for six points.
Clay Ostrander led the Tigers with 16 kills (.345), followed by Jason Borchin's 11 (.333).
Next week the Bruins travel to the Chicago area for non-conference matches against Lewis (Feb. 13) and Loyola-Chicago (Feb. 14).
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