No. 1 Bruins Host Long Beach St., Travel to Cal State Northridge
Feb. 27, 2012
Live Coverage -- Fans can follow the Long Beach State match 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 Cal State Northridge match via a live audio broadcast on ucalbruins.com and can follow both matches via Gametracker. Links are available at uclabruins.com on the events calendar on the front page.
In The Rankings -- The Bruins moved back up to No. 1 in the AVCA poll this week after defeating Cal Baptist last week and seeing the Stanford Cardinal split their two matches. Long Beach State is ranked No. 8 this week while Cal State Northridge came in at No. 14.
Important Ticket Information for UC Irvine Match on 3/31 -- For those who are interested in attending UCLA's match against the UC Irvine Anteaters on Sat., Mar. 31, please note that the match is going to be played at Crawford Hall on the Irvine campus and seating capacity is extremely limited. The match is expected to sell out very soon so it is recommended that you purchase your tickets now. Tickets can be purchased online at ucirvinesports.com/tickets/mvolleyball or via phone at (949) 824-5000. UC Irvine's ticket office is open Mon.-Fri. from 10 am to 5 pm during the regular season.
Vote for Jeremy Casebeer for Off the Block Fan Choice Player of the Month -- Fans at home can now vote for senior Jeremy Casebeer for the Off the Block Fan Choice Player of the Month, which is an award that recognizes the best individual performances from NCAA Division I-II men's volleyball players during the month. Casebeer had double-digit kills in five February matches and finished the month with a team-high 70 combined kills. In addition, the senior led the Bruins in kills in four of their six February matches as UCLA ended the month 6-1 and No. 1 in the national coaches poll. Fans will determine the winner of the Player of the Month award through online voting on the Off the Block website. The online poll is now open and closes at 11:59 p.m. (EST) Wednesday and fans can vote for their choice by either visiting offtheblockblog.com or by clicking here.
Scouting The 49ers -- Long Beach State enters their matchup with UCLA with an 8-7 overall record (4-6 MPSF) and are coming off of a split of their two matches last week. The 49ers fell to UC Irvine in three sets before defeating UC San Diego in four. Long Beach is led by sophomore outside hitter Taylor Crabb and senior opposite Jim Baughman, who are No. 1 and No. 2 respectively on the team in points and kills. Crabb was a preseason Off the Block All-American while Baughman led the team in kills and points in 2011. Long Beach State as a team is third in the conference in opponent hitting percentage, allowing opponents to hit just .238 on the season, and is second in service ace average, averaging 1.44 service aces per game. Finally, the 49ers are led by head coach Andy Read, who is in this third season as interim head coach for Long Beach State.
The Series With Long Beach State -- The Bruins own an all-time record of 76-35 against the 49ers. Last season, the two teams met three times with all three matches going to five sets. UCLA won two of those three matches. In the first match at the Santa Barbara Invitational, the Bruins overcame a 2-0 deficit in the match to beat the 49ers. Jeremy Casebeer had a team-leading 14 kills in the match while Matt Hanley chimed in with 11 of his own and a team-high eight digs. In the second match at Long Beach, the 49ers returned the favor and came back from two sets down to defeat the Bruins 3-2 despite Gonzalo Quiroga recording a career-high 20 kills in the match. The two teams played the rubber match at Pauley Pavilion in March with the Bruins prevailing behind 17 Kyle Caldwell kills and 17 Gonzalo Quiroga digs. Caldwell also added seven total blocks to give 22.0 points in the victory. Earlier this year, the 49ers upset the Bruins in five sets behind 21 kills from John La Rusch and 16 kills from Taylor Crabb. Jeremy Casebeer led UCLA with 15.0 points in the loss.
Scouting The Matadors -- Cal State Northridge currently holds a record of 5-9 (3-7 MPSF) so far and, like Long Beach State, is coming off of a split of their two matches last week; a three-set loss to UC Irvine and a three-set win over UC San Diego. Freshman Julius Hoefer leads the team in kills (151) and points (185.0) and is second to junior Drew Staker in total blocks (41). Staker leads the team with 42. Junior middle blocker Jared Moore is also a key member of the Matadors as he leads the team in hitting percentage at .468 and has amassed 80 kills and 39 total blocks so far this 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 60-12 and have won six straight over the Matadors. 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. Weston Dunlap led UCLA with 15 kills on a .789 hitting percentage while Jack Polales added 13 kills of his own. Kyle 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. They also played a second time at the John Wooden Center back in January where again the Bruins defeated the Matadors, this time by the score of 3-0. UCLA did not allow a block to Northridge and held them to just a .058 hitting percentage in the match. Jeremy Casebeer led the Bruins with 13 kills and 15.5 points while Dunlap, Thomas Amberg and Gonzalo Quiroga each had double-digit point performances.
Recapping the Week -- UCLA only had one match last week as they defeated the Cal Baptist Lancers 3-0 for their third consecutive sweep. Nick Vogel led the Bruins by recording nine kills and six block assists for 12.0 points. Vogel also hit an outstanding .667 with a line of 9-1-12. Jeremy Casebeer added seven kills and three total blocks for 9.0 points while senior setter Kyle Caldwell recorded six kills in seven swings without an error. Caldwell also paced the Bruins to a .441 overall hitting percentage with 25 set assists. Finally, Weston Dunlap had six kills with five block assists while also hitting .455 in the match.
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 first and second respectively in hitting percentage with Amberg hitting a conference leading .507 and Dunlap right behind him hitting .506 for the year. The Bruins also have four of the top 15 players in blocks per set, with Amberg having the third most blocks per set at 1.58 while Dunlap (1.02), Nick Vogel (0.98) and Kyle Caldwell (0.97) are 10th, 12th and 13th respectively. Sophomore libero Evan Mottram is sixth in the MPSF in digs per game with 2.08 while Gonzalo Quiroga is fourth in service aces per game with 0.41. Finally, UCLA as a team is leading the MPSF conference in opponent hitting percentage, holding opponents to just a .196 hitting percentage, and hitting percentage (.360). The Bruins are second in the conference in kills per game at 13.61.
Coming Up -- UCLA will play two home matches next week as they take on the UC San Diego Tritons on Thurs., Mar. 8 at 7 pm and the UC Irvine Anteaters on Sat., Mar. 10 at 7 pm. Both matches will be played at the John Wooden Center.
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