Bruins Go East and Stop Streak
March 4, 2009
The 11th-ranked UCLA men's volleyball team traveled about 50 feet east and ended its four-match skid Wednesday night with a convincing victory over collegiate volleyball startup Grand Canyon University in Pauley Pavilion.
For the first time since Pauley Pavilion opened, the Bruins began the match on the east bench. The change of scenery produced a victory and restored some confidence to the struggling Bruins who had lost five of their previous six, albeit without their best hitter, junior Garrett Muagututia.
UCLA won 30-19, 30-25, 30-21 in 75 minutes in front of 436 fans. The victory improved the Bruins' overall record to 8-10 and raised their home court record to 6-2. Grand Canyon, a first-year program, fell to 2-16.
In the first game, the Antelopes hung around until the 11th point before the Bruins ran off eight straight points on three aces by freshman Nick Vogel, two kills by senior Sean O'Malley and various UCLA blocks and hitting miscues by GCU. O'Malley sealed the set with a kill for a 30-19 triumph.
In the second set, the `Lopes were within a point after a UCLA service error made the score 24-23. A pair of kills by UCLA freshman Thomas Amberg gave the Bruins a 26-23 lead and GCU burned its second timeout. Amberg was blocked on the next point, but retaliated with a kill to give the Bruins another three-point lead. After another GCU point, the Bruins scored three points to ice the game.
The Antelopes held leads of 1-0 and 2-1 in the third set, but never led after that. The Bruins pulled ahead on the early serving of senior Ryan Ratelle and aces by Amberg and O'Malley. They eventually built an insurmountable lead behind Amberg's hot hand.
Not surprisingly, Amberg led both teams with a career-high of 18 kills (.773) and 20.5 points. Vogel added 12 kills (.526) and a match-high three aces. O'Malley recorded eight kills (.412) and freshman Kyle Caldwell added four kills (.800) off the bench. Senior setter Matt Wade recorded 41 assists and freshman libero Jamey Ker dug eight balls.
Taylor Griffin led GCU with 10 kills (.400) and Mikel Meador added nine for Grand Canyon.
The Bruins entertain No.2 ranked UC Irvine on Fri., Mar. 6 in a 7 p.m. league match in Pauley Pavilion.
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