#3 UCLA Begins MPSF Play Against Stanford, Pacific
Jan. 17, 2012
Live Coverage -- Fans can follow both matches on the internet via a live audio and video broadcast at uclabruins.com. Darren Preston, Mike Sondheimer and Connor Reeves will have the call. Fans can also follow the games via Gametracker. Links are available at uclabruins.com on the events calendar on the front page.
In The Rankings -- This week, the Bruins remained at No. 3 in the AVCA poll after going sweeping all three matches at the Outrigger Hotels Invitational in Hawai'i. BYU took back the top spot from UC Irvine after sweeping the Anteaters in two matches in Provo. Stanford is ranked No. 4 by the AVCA while Pacific came in at No. 15. UCLA is also ranked No. 2 by Volleyball Magazine.
Scouting The Cardinal -- Stanford comes into their matchup with UCLA with an undefeated 3-0 overall record and a 1-0 record in MPSF play. The Cardinal opened their 2012 campaign with a 3-0 sweep of the Pacific Tigers on the road before defeating Juniata and Loyola-Chicago in non-conference home matches. The Cardinal are led by senior libero Erik Shoji, who could become Stanford's first ever four-time All-American, and senior outside hitter Brad Lawson, who was a first-team AVCA All-American in 2011. This season, sophomore Brian Cook leads the Cardinal with 35 kills while sophomore Eric Mochalski leads the team in hitting percentage with .600. John Kosty is in his sixth season as head coach of the Cardinal and won the National Championship with Stanford in 2010.
The Series With Stanford -- The Bruins lead the overall series with Stanford 61-17 but dropped both matches last season to the Cardinal. In the first match in Palo Alto, the Cardinal won 3-1 behind 19 kills from Spencer McLachlin. Gonzalo Quiroga led the Bruins with 16 kills and four aces while Robart Page had a career-high 14 kills in the loss. In the second match at the John Wooden Center, the Bruins were swept 3-0 by Stanford on senior night. Page and Weston Dunlap had eight kills apiece to lead UCLA while Dunlap added four block assists.
Scouting The Tigers -- Pacific has a 2-2 record entering this week, winning two matches against Grand Canyon University and dropping matches to Stanford and Loyola-Chicago. The Tigers are coming off of an 11-19 record in 2011 and a 10th place finish in the MPSF. This season, Pacific is led by junior Taylor Hughes, who leads the team with 41 kills on the season, and senior Florian Gornik, who is second to Hughes in kills with 38 and first on the team in aces with six. Head Coach Joe Wortmann is in his 19th season as head coach of the Tigers.
The Series With Pacific -- UCLA owns an all-time record of 32-2 against with the Tigers. Last season, UCLA swept both matches with Pacific winning 3-0 in both. Weston Dunlap was the team-leader in kills in the first match in Stockton, recording 14 in the match. Kyle Caldwell and Thomas Amberg were right behind Dunlap with 11 each. In the rematch at the John Wooden Center, the Bruins clinched an MPSF playoff berth behind Gonzalo Quiroga's career day. Quiroga registered career-highs in points (22.5) and aces (6) while Robart Page and Thomas Amberg had eight kills each.
Recapping the Weekend -- The Bruins took home their seventh Outrigger Hotels Invitational title in 12 appearances after winning all three matches down in Hawai'i. In the first match against Lewis, UCLA won 3-1 behind Jeremy Casebeer's career-high 16 kills and 19 points. Weston Dunlap and Gonzalo Quiroga had double-digit kills in the match as well, recording 12 and 11 respectively. Finally, Evan Mottram had a game-high 14 digs. The next night, UCLA made quick work of Springfield, defeating the Pride 3-0. Thomas Amberg led the Bruins with 13 kills and four block assists on the night. In the finale against Hawai'i, the Bruins swept the Warriors 3-0 to take home the Outrigger title. Kyle Caldwell had 34 set assists in the match while Casebeer led the Bruins in kills with 13.
Caldwell Named Most Outstanding Player at Outrigger Tournament -- Senior Kyle Caldwell earned Most Outstanding Player honors at the Outrigger Hotels Invitational title after recording 113 set assists and leading the Bruins to a combined .379 hitting percentage in all three matches. On Thursday against Lewis, Caldwell had a game-high 45 assists while adding five kills and five digs to lead UCLA to a 3-1 victory. He also helped the Bruins to an outstanding .400 hitting percentage against the Flyers. The next night against Springfield, he converted five kills on seven attempts and had 34 assists in a 3-0 sweep of Springfield College while again setting up the Bruins to hit .395 in the match. To cap it all off, Caldwell had another 34 assists in the championship match against Hawai'i and added 1.5 total blocks to lead the Bruins to the Outrigger Hotels championship. Once again UCLA had a stellar hitting percentage as they hit .341 in large part due to Caldwell's setting. Seniors Jeremy Casebeer and Thomas Amberg were also named to the All-Tournament Team for their efforts.
Coming Up -- UCLA will have two more MPSF home matches next week against the Cal State Northridge Matadors on Wed., Jan. 25 at 7 pm and the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos on Fri., Jan. 27 at 7 pm. Both matches will be played at the John Wooden Center.
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