No.5 UCLA Hosts No.9 Long Beach State in MPSF Showdown
Jan. 14, 2013
This Week -- The fifth-ranked UCLA men's volleyball team will host Long Beach State on Tues., Jan. 15 in Pauley Pavilion at 7 p.m. Later in the week, the Bruins will embark on a three-match road trip to UC Santa Barbara (Jan. 18), Stanford (Jan. 22) and Pacific (Jan. 27).
Live Coverage -- Fans can follow the Long Beach State match on the internet via live audio and video broadcasts at uclabruins.com. Darren Preston, Mike Sondheimer and Connor Reeves will have the call. Fans can also follow the matches via Gametracker. Links are available at uclabruins.com on the events calendar on the front page.
In The Rankings -- The Bruins (5-2) remained at No.5 in the AVCA rankings this week after capturing the championship at the Outrigger Hotels Invitational in Honolulu. Entering the week, Long Beach State (2-2, 0-1) is ranked ninth, and UC Santa Barbara (3-2, 1-1) is ranked eighth.
Scouting the Opponents -- Long Beach State lost its only match last week, 0-3 at UC Santa Barbara. Prior to that contest, the 49ers won two of three matches at the Asics Invitational: they defeated Loyola-Chicago 3-0 in their opener on Jan. 4, lost 0-3 to UC Irvine in the semifinals and outlasted UCSD 3-2 on Jan. 5. After beating The Beach on Jan. 9, the Gauchos lost 2-3 at CS Northridge on Jan. 11.
The Series -- The Bruins lead the all-time series with each of their opponents this week: 77-35 vs. Long Beach State, and 119-32 vs. UCSB. The Bruins defeated the Gauchos 3-2 in the 2013 opener for both teams on Jan. 4. The victory was the 200th in UCLA Head Coach John Speraw's collegiate coaching career. Last season, the Bruins and 49ers split a pair of league matches with each team winning on its home court. Against UCSB in 2012, UCLA won both league matches.
Recapping the Week -- The Bruins have established a school record by opening the season with seven consectutive five-set matches, winning five. In fact, no school in league history has played seven straight five-set matches. On Jan. 8, the Bruins opened their 2013 MPSF season by outlasting visting Cal State Northridge 3-2 in Pauley Pavilion. In that match, junior Robart Page led the Bruins with 16 kills and 18.0 points, followed by juniors Dane Worley and Gonzalo Quiroga with 13 kills each. Worley added a career-high 18 digs and five total blocks.
In the first match of the Outrigger, UCLA rallied to defeat Penn State behind 17 kills from Page and 13 each from Worley and sophomore Kene Izuchukwu. Worley served a career-high five aces to lead an 11-ace effort for the Bruins.
The Bruins rallied from a 2-1 sets deficit the next night against Ohio State with Worley leading the attack with a career-best 19 kills (.341) and 24.5 points. Izuchukwu and junior Spencer Rowe each added 13 kills.
Agasint Hawai'i, the Bruins let a 2-1 sets advantage slip, dropping the final two sets by two points. Page led the way with 18 kills, followed by 15 from Quiroga and 12 from Worley. The Bruins served a season-high 14 aces in this match (18 errors), led by five from Quiroga, and out-blocked the Rainbows 14.5-6.0.
For the week (20 sets), Worley established career-highs for kills (19), aces (5), total blocks (5), digs (18) and points (24.5). He recorded 57 kills, 11 aces, 38 digs, 13 total blocks and 76 points.
John Speraw's First Season at UCLA -- New Head Coach John Speraw (UCLA '95) begins his first season as the head coach at his alma mater. In 10 seasons at UC Irvine, Speraw led the Anteaters to three NCAA championships, including the 2012 title. Last summer, he also served as an assistant coach for the USA Men's National Team, which advanced to the quarterfinals of the London Olympics. In his decade of service at UCI, Speraw compiled an overall record of 199-106 (.652). Speraw earned AVCA National Coach of the Year in 2006 and was given the USA Olympic Committee's National Coach of the Year award in 2007. He entered this week with a career record of 204-108 (.652).
Coming Up -- After their two-week, three-match road swing the Bruins return home to host defending NCAA champion UC Irvine on Tues., Jan. 29. The match will be televised nationally by the Pac-12 Networks. On Sat., Feb. 2, the Bruins will continue their home stand with a conference match against UC San Diego at 7 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion.
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