Bruins Make It Five Straight With a Sweep of Cal State Northridge
March 2, 2012
Northridge, Calif. - The number one ranked UCLA men's volleyball continued their shutout streak as they swept the Cal State Northridge Matadors on Friday night to earn their fifth straight win.
UCLA improved to 17-2 overall and a conference-leading 11-1 in MPSF play. The Matadors dropped to 6-10 overall and 4-8 in conference play. Set scores were 28-26, 25-15, and 25-22.
The first set turned out to be a wild one and started with the Bruins jumping out to an early 9-6 lead after taking advantage of Northridge errors and getting a couple of kills from senior Thomas Amberg. Northridge quickly came back and took back the lead at 11-10 before UCLA stopped their momentum and regained the lead at 13-11 behind a Matador service error, a Weston Dunlap solo block and a Gonzalo Quiroga ace. Again Northridge fought back though and tied the set at 19-19. After Dunlap hammered home a kill, Quiroga really put the Bruins in great shape by serving three consecutive aces to make it 23-19 UCLA. The Matadors would not go down lightly though and again tied the set at 23-23. After trading the next couple of points to get the set to 26-26, the Bruins finally prevailed after Amberg scored a kill and Northridge committed an attack error to give UCLA a 28-26 first set victory.
The second set was all UCLA as they jumped out to 7-3 lead behind combined blocks from seniors Kyle Caldwell, Thomas Amberg, Jeremy Casebeer and Weston Dunlap. This time there would be no Matador comeback though, as the Bruins continued to increase their lead and ended the second set with four straight points en route to an easy 25-15 set win. UCLA held Northridge to just a .031 hitting percentage in the second set while hitting .387.
In the third set, UCLA again jumped on the Matadors early as they stifled Northridge's attack at the net. Caldwell, Amberg, Casebeer and Nick Vogel combined for four early blocks to give the Bruins an 8-5 lead. The Matadors kept fighting though and eventually took the lead at 15-14 in the set. The two sides stayed close throughout the set, but at 21-21 the Bruins were able to go ahead by two points after a Northridge service error and a Kyle Caldwell kill. After the Matadors took the next point to make it 23-22, the Bruins closed out the set after Kene Izuchukwu hammered home a kill and Vogel and Amberg combined for a block to seal the set 25-22 and down the Matadors in three.
Vogel led the Bruins once again with 11 kills, six digs and four block assists on a .500 hitting percentage. Amberg also kept up his stellar form at the net, scoring nine kills on a team-best .615 hitting percentage and adding eight block assists in the win. Both Vogel and Amberg led the team with 13 points apiece. Despite having a tough night on the attack, Quiroga made up for it with his serving as he tied a career-high with six aces against the Matadors. Finally, sophomore libero Evan Mottram played well in defense as he registered 11 digs on the night.
Overall, the Bruins held the Matadors to a .134 hitting percentage and outblocked Northridge 15-8. John Baker led the Matadors with nine kills in the match.
UCLA's next match will be on Thurs., Mar. 8 against UC San Diego at 7 pm in the John Wooden Center.
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