UCLA Opens the 2012 Season at UCSB/asics Invitational
Jan. 5, 2012
In The Rankings -- In the preseason rankings, UCLA was ranked No. 3 by the AVCA. BYU topped the poll earning 11 first place votes and 247 points overall while UC Irvine was ranked No. 2 with three first place votes and 237 total points. The Bruins earned one first place vote and 199 total points. Defending champion Ohio State earned the only other first place vote and are ranked eighth in the preseason poll.
Scouting The Tournament Field -- Cal State Northridge comes into the season ranked No. 12 in the AVCA preseason poll and are coming off of a 7-22 record in 2011 and an 11th place finish in the MPSF. The Matadors are returning all but two starters off of last year's team and are led by senior outside hitter Matt Stork, junior middle blocker Drew Staker and sophomore middle blocker Greg Faulkner, who was a 2011 All-MPSF freshman selection. UC Santa Barbara has only one returning starter from last year's 2011 squad that ran the table in the MPSF playoffs and made it all the way to the NCAA Championship game. The Gauchos are ranked No. 14 in the AVCA preseason poll and are led by sole returning starter junior Dylan Davis. The Ohio State Buckeyes are the defending national champions and return 11 letterwinners off of last season's championship squad. Senior opposite Shawn Sangrey is a Volleyball Magazine All-American and was named to the All-Tournament Team last year after tallying 30 kills in the National Championship game against UC Santa Barbara. Long Beach State, Loyola-Chicago, BYU and UC Irvine will round out the tournament field.
The Series With Cal State Northridge -- The Bruins lead the overall series with Cal State Northridge 58-12 and won both matches against the Matadors in 2011. In their first meeting at Pauley Pavilion, Gonzalo Quiroga and Thomas Amberg had 10 kills each to lead the Bruins to a 3-1 victory. In the rematch at Northridge, UCLA swept the Matadors 3-0 behind a game-high 11 kills from Kyle Caldwell and 10 kills from Weston Dunlap.
The Series With UC Santa Barbara/Ohio State -- UCLA leads the all-time series with the Gauchos 116-32. Last season, UC Santa Barbara won all three matches against the Bruins, winning 3-1 in all matches. Weston Dunlap led the Bruins with 12 kills in two of the matches while Kyle Caldwell had 16 in the 3-1 loss at Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins are 13-1 all-time against Ohio State but have not played the Buckeyes since 2006, a 3-0 Ohio State win.
Al Scates Enters Final Season as Head Coach -- UCLA head coach Al Scates is entering his 50th and final season as head coach of the UCLA men's volleyball team as he will retire following the 2012 season. Scates has compiled a nation-best 1,217 victories in his time at UCLA and leaves behind an unmatched legacy of success, longevity and influence in collegiate men's volleyball. To date, Coach Scates has captured 19 NCAA championships, 21 overall national championships and 24 conference titles. In addition, Scates has coached 52 different first-team NCAA All-Americans, 44 U.S. National Team members, 27 Olympians, 26 USVBA All-Americans and seven collegiate Players of the Year over his 49 year tenure. "Al Scates stands alone in his contributions to the sport of men's volleyball," said Athletic Director Dan Guerrero. "His dedication, passion, and stewardship of the game ushered UCLA into an era of widespread achievement in Olympic sports and broadened athletic opportunities for collegiate men across the country. While bittersweet, Coach Scates' final year at the helm of Bruin volleyball will be a well-deserved season-long celebration for an individual whose lifetime achievements are truly remarkable. Al is among the greatest coaches in the history of college sports and a legend in the annals of UCLA Athletics. He is a Bruin in every sense of the word and we are so thankful for his 50 years of service to the University."
A Look At The Bruins -- After coming off of a 16-15 campaign in 2011, the Bruins are poised to make some noise this year as they return all but one starter in 2012. Sophomore libero Evan Mottram is a transfer from UC Santa Barbara and will look to fill the shoes of 2011 senior Tom Hastings. Senior quick hitters Weston Dunlap and Thomas Amberg will be strong in the middle after Dunlap led the nation in hitting percentage in 2011 and Amberg earned honorable mention All-MPSF honors. Senior Kyle Caldwell has moved over to setter full-time now after the departure of Alex Scattareggia. Sophomore Gonzalo Quiroga is back after leading the team in kills and points last season while senior Jeremy Casebeer, sophomore Matt Hanley and freshman Robart Page look to get time at the position as well. Finally, senior quick hitter Jack Polales, senior outside hitter Ryal Jagd, senior opposite Nick Vogel and sophomore opposite Spencer Rowe will look to make big contributions for the Bruins this season as well.
Three Bruins Earn Off the Block Preseason All-America Acclaim -- Seniors Weston Dunlap and Kyle Caldwell, and sophomore Gonzalo Quiroga were each named to the Off the Block Preseason All-America Team earlier this year. Dunlap earned first-team honors while Quiroga and Caldwell were named to the second team. Other receiving votes included seniors Nick Vogel and Thomas Amberg and sophomore Robart Page. In 2011, Dunlap and Quiroga were voted 2nd Team All-MPSF and Amberg earned honorable mention acclaim. Quiroga also earned MPSF All-Freshman Team honors.
Coming Up -- UCLA will travel to Honolulu, Hawai'i to participate in the Outrigger Hotels Invitational, taking on Lewis College on Thurs., Jan. 12 at 6 pm PT, Springfield College on Fri., Jan 13 at 6 pm PT, and Hawai'i on Sat., Jan. 14 at 9 pm PT.
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