Bruins Take Down Top-Ranked Anteaters in Three
March 31, 2012
Irvine, Calif. - After falling to the Anteaters in their first two meetings, the third ranked UCLA Bruins exacted revenge and finally broke through as they defeated UC Irvine in straight sets on Saturday night.
The Bruins bounced back from their loss against UC San Diego on Friday night and improved to 20-5 overall and 14-4 in MPSF play. The Anteaters dropped to 19-4 overall and 15-4 in the conference. With the win, UCLA also earned their first 20 win season since 2006 and their 39th overall under head coach Al Scates. Set scores were 25-21, 25-21 and 25-23.
The first set started out back and forth and at 10-10, the Bruins separated themselves a little after Thomas Amberg and Nick Vogel scored back-to-back kills and Irvine committed an attack error to make it 13-10 UCLA. The Bruins would increase their lead just a few plays later when Gonzalo Quiroga recorded two straight kills and Vogel and Amberg combined for a block to give the Bruins a 16-11 lead in the set. From there, Irvine was unable to get any closer than two points and UCLA cruised to a 25-21 first set victory.
The beginning of the second set played out much like the first, as the two teams stayed within a point or two of each other to start out. Then at 12-12, the Bruins got a kill from Amberg and took advantage of two attack errors by the Anteaters to take a three point lead at 15-12. UC Irvine made a small run and cut the deficit to just one point at 21-20, but again UCLA responded after Jeremy Casebeer hammered home a kill and Vogel and Amberg combined for another block to give the Bruins another three point advantage. They went on to close out the set from there 25-21 and put the Anteaters in a 2-0 hole in the match.
UC Irvine came out in the third set and was able to gain a little bit of momentum after they took a 12-9 lead in the early going. The two teams traded the next couple of points until UCLA tied the match at 15-15 after Amberg and Quiroga recorded a couple of kills. Each side again fought back and forth, trading points until the set was tied at 22-22. The Bruins would come up huge though by taking two straight points after Amberg and Vogel scored back-to-back kills to make it 24-22 Bruins. After Irvine took the next point, the Anteaters committed a service error and UCLA closed out the match in three sets with a 25-23 final set victory.
Quiroga led all players in the match with 13 kills and 14 points while hitting a stellar .435 in the match. Amberg put together an equally impressive performance, scoring 10 kills, an ace and two block assists to give him 12 points. He also hit an outstanding .692 on 13 attempts. Weston Dunlap was third on the team with 9.5 points on eight kills and two total blocks. Finally, Kyle Caldwell made a huge difference in the match as he set the Bruins to a .378 hitting percentage and recorded 34 set assists to go along with six digs.
Overall, UCLA held the Anteaters to just a .273 hitting percentage in contrast to their .378 mark. Connor Hughes led UC Irvine with nine kills in the match.
The Bruins will return home next weekend to play a two-game set against BYU on Friday, Apr. 6 and Saturday, Apr. 7 in the John Wooden Center. Both matches will begin at 7 pm. These two matches will also be the final regular season home matches for the Bruins this season and the final two in the career of legendary head coach Al Scates.
CLick for Bruin Video