Bruins to Host Cal St. Northridge, UCSB in MPSF Matches
Jan. 24, 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 behind BYU and UC Irvine after sweeping both Stanford and Pacific. Cal State Northridge is ranked No. 9 by the AVCA with a 2-4 record while UC Santa Barbara came in at No. 15 after falling to Stanford and Pacific over the weekend.
Scouting The Matadors -- Cal State Northridge is off to a 2-4 (1-2 MPSF) start this year after returning all but two starters off of last year's team and is coming off of a five-set victory over Long Beach State. Freshman Julius Hoefer leads the team in kills (79), points (97) and total blocks (20) while senior Matt Stork is second to Hoefer in kills and blocks. Sophomore Greg Faulkner is also a key member of the Matadors after earning All-MPSF freshman honors in 2011. Currently Faulkner has 17 kills and 14 total blocks on the season. Finally, Jeff Campbell is in his 15th season as head coach of the Matadors and has amassed over 220 victories as head coach of his alma mater.
The Series With Cal State Northridge -- The Bruins lead the overall series with Cal State Northridge 59-12 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. Earlier this season the two teams met at the UCSB/Asics Invitational in Santa Barbara, Calif. where the Bruins again beat the Matadors 3-1. Dunlap led UCLA with 15 kills on a .789 hitting percentage while Jack Polales added 13 kills of his own. Caldwell set the Bruins to a .397 hitting percentage overall and fell just three assists short of his career-high with 49 assists in the match.
Scouting The Gauchos -- 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 currently have a record of 2-4 (0-2 MPSF) and are coming off back-to-back home losses to Stanford and Pacific. UC Santa Barbara is led by junior outside hitter Miles Evans, who leads the team with 80 kills in 20 sets and sole returning starter Dylan Davis, who leads the team with 19 total blocks. Evans entered this week ranked fifth in the MPSF in both points per set (4.57) and kills per set (3.96).
The Series With UC Santa Barbara -- UCLA leads the all-time series with the Gauchos 116-32 but Santa Barbara has won the last three in the series, all coming in 2011. Last year, the two sides first met at the Santa Barbara Invitational where Weston Dunlap led the Bruins with 12 kills in the Bruins' 3-1 loss to the Gauchos. Jack Polales was the only other UCLA player with double-digit kills, registering 11 in the match. In their next match, Kyle Caldwell had 16 kills and 21.5 points in another 3-1 loss at Pauley Pavilion. That same weekend, the Gauchos and Bruins played their final match of the season in Santa Barbara, where the Bruins lost again 3-1 behind an 18 kill performance from Santa Barbara outside hitter Jeff Menzel.
Recapping the Weekend -- The Bruins got off to a great start in MPSF play, defeating both Stanford and Pacific over the weekend by scores of 3-0. On Friday against Stanford, UCLA picked up their first victory over the Cardinal since 2010 behind Gonzalo Quiroga's 16 kills and 18 points. Quiroga also hit .538 in the match on 26 attempts. Kyle Caldwell again was big in the setter position, recording 31 set assists while also setting the Bruins to a .376 hitting percentage. In addition, Caldwell played well at the net, registereing one solo block and four block assists. Finally, Jeremy Casebeer had a career-high 11 digs in the sweep of the Cardinal. On Saturday, the Bruins dispatched of Pacific in three sets after hitting an outstanding .442 in the match. Senior Thomas Amberg hit an amazing .909 in the match, which set the school record for single game hitting percentage (min. 10 attempts). He broke the previous mark of .900 set by five other UCLA players. UCLA also had no reception errors in the match and served six aces against the Tigers, three of which came from Quiroga.
Top of the Charts -- Several UCLA players find themselves at the top or near the top of the leaderboard in numerous MPSF statistical categories. Seniors Thomas Amberg and Weston Dunlap are number one and two respectively in hitting percentage, with Amberg leading the conference at .585 and Dunlap just behind him at .553. Sophomore Gonzalo Quiroga is tied for eighth in service aces per game at 0.38 while setter Kyle Caldwell is ninth in assists per game at 10.04. Sophomore libero Evan Mottram is second in the MPSF in digs per game with 2.48. Finally, UCLA as a team is leading the MPSF conference in opponent hitting percentage, holding opponents to just a .218 hitting percentage, and kills per game, averaging 14.48 per set.
Coming Up -- The Bruins will hit the road next week as they travel to Malibu, Calif. to take on the Pepperdine Waves on Wed., Feb. 1 at 7 pm. UCLA will then head downtown to the Galen Center to face crosstown rivals USC on Fri., Feb. 3 at 7 pm.
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