UCLA Travels to USC, Pepperdine for Regular Season Finales
April 11, 2011
The 8th-ranked UCLA men's volleyball team will end the 2011 regular season with MPSF road matches at No. 1 USC on Thurs., Apr. 14 and at No. 13 Pepperdine on Sat., Apr. 16. Both matches will begin at 7 p.m.
Darren Preston will call the audio play-by-play action on uclabruins.com for each match while Connor Reeves is expected to provide commentary.
Last weekend UCLA split a pair of conference home matches with Pacific and Stanford. UCLA beat Pacific 3-0 to clinch a playoff berth for the 48th time in 49 years. Freshman Gonzalo Quiroga led the Bruins with 16 kills (.682) against the Tigers, followed by eight apiece from junior middle blockers Weston Dunlap and Thomas Amberg. Quiroga also served a career-high six aces to break the UCLA single season freshman aces record. With 39 aces this season, he eclipsed the mark of 35 held by Adam Naeve since 1997.
The following night, the Bruins lost 3-0 to the Cardinal in a match where they hit just .041 and were out-gunned 39-29 in total kills. Stanford also won the battle at the net 11.0-8.5.
In January, the Bruins lost to the Trojans 3-0 after sweeping the Waves two days prior. Against Pepperdine, UCLA played one of its best matches, hitting .482 and limited the visitors to an attack percentage of .268. UCLA also out-blocked Pepperdine, 8.5-3.0. Junior Kyle Caldwell smacked 14 kills (.591) and Quiroga added 11 (.474). The Bruins also enjoyed a 47-35 overall kill advantage.
Pepperidine (9-15, 5-15) is one of two teams to beat USC this season, winning 3-2 at home on Feb. 11. The other team to defeat the Trojans are the Hawai'i Warriors, who beat USC this past weekend 3-2 in Honolulu.
On Jan. 28, the Bruins lost in four to top-ranked USC. After splitting the first two sets, UCLA found itself with a 22-19 edge when USC called its final timeout in Set 3. The Trojans then outscored the Bruins 7-2 to take the set and a forge a 2-1 lead. In Set 4, USC All-American Murphy Troy served 10 straight points in leading the visitors to a 25-16 advantage and a victory. Dunlap and Amberg led the Bruins with 13 and 12 kills, respectively.
All season, USC (18-2, 17-2) has been ranked No. 1 in the AVCA Coaches Poll. Senior Murphy Troy is hitting .364, averaging 4.0 kps and remains a top candidate for Player of the Year. In the January match against UCLA he led all players with 26 kills. UCLA leads 86-37 all-time against the Trojans while leading Pepperdine 74-34 all-time.
In the MPSF quarterfinals on Apr. 23, UCLA, seeded eighth, will travel to the Galen Center to play top seeded USC for the third time this season.
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