Bruins Men's Volleyball Stake Claim to No.1 With 3-0 Victory at Long Beach St.
Feb. 8, 1998
LONG BEACH -- The top-ranked UCLA men's volleyball team defeated third-ranked Long Beach State, 3-0, Feb. 7 at the Pyramid and will likely claim the consensus No.1 spot in the national rankings this week.
Last week, the Bruins, 8-0 overall and 5-0 in MPSF Mountain Division play, shared the No.1 ranking with BYU. The Bruins were No.1 in the AVCA Coaches Poll, BYU claimed the top spot in the Volleyball magazine poll. The Bruins' 15-11, 15-11, 15-8 victory over the 49ers on Saturday, combined with BYU's two losses at Pepperdine last week should give the UCLA the No.1 spot.
"I think at this point we deserve to be [consensus] No.1," said UCLA coach Al Scates. "We've beaten some tough teams on the road -- Hawaii, Pepperdine and Long Beach. We've still got a long way to go, but we can only get stronger."
Once again the Bruins' variety of weapons and solid defense overpowered another opponent. UCLA shut down Long Beach All-American Gaby Amar, limiting him to a .125 attack percentage and stifling the usually proficient 49ers' attack to a .194 team attack ratio.
The Bruins hit .292 as a team led by junior opposite Evan Thatcher's game high 16 kills, followed by seniors Ben Moselle with 13 and Tom Stillwell's 11. Stillwell added a team high five blocks and Moselle posted a game high 12 digs. The Bruins outdug the 49ers 41-36.
"Thatcher really stepped up his game," said Scates. "He's been struggling in our last few matches, but in Game 3 [vs. LBS] he was unstoppable."
The Bruins will enjoy a 10-match homestand over the next four weeks, culminating in a showdown, Mar. 6 & 7, at Pauley Pavilion against BYU.
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