Men's Volleyball Captures NCAA Championship
May 2, 1998
HONOLULU - UCLA won their third national title in four years with a 15-11, 15-11, 15-7 win over top-seeded Peperdine in the finals of the NCAA Men's Volleyball Championship Saturday night. A record crowd of 9,822 at the Stan Sheriff Center watched the second-seeded Bruins dominate Pepperdine in nearly every facet of the game and avenge last week's loss to the Waves in the MPSF Tournament finals.
With the win, UCLA head coach Al Scates collected his 17th title, an all-time NCAA single-sport record by a coach.
With All-America Brandon Taliaferro directing the offense, the Bruins were nearly unstoppable, hitting .454 for the match. Adam Navae, the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, led a balanced UCLA attack with 23 kills. Evan Thatcher added 21 and Tom Stillwell had 18. Fred robins and Brian Moselle rounded up the attack with 17 and 15 kills, respectively.
"That's the first time we had all five hitters hitting well," said Scates.
The Bruins also served decidedly better. After registering only one ace and 27 errors in their loss to Pepperdine last week, the Bruins set the tone early with tough serving. The Bruins four aces (nine total in the game) proved to be the difference in a 15-11 opening game win.
A pivotal moment occurred with the score deadlocked at 2-2 in the second game when Pepperdine middle blocker Chris Jacobson was forced to leave the game with an injured ankle. Without Jacobson, the Waves were burned by the Bruins, who reeled off eight unanswered points and hit at a .857 clip during the strectch. The Waves mounted a comeback, but were unable to recover in the pivotal Game 2.
AVCA Player of the Year George Roumain led Pepperdine with 22 kills.
The all-tournament team consisted of UCLA's Navaie, Robins and Taliaferro, Pepperdine's Roumain and Rick Tune and Lewis' Victor Rivera.
The two-day attendance figure for this year's tournament was 18,901, a new NCAA record.
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