MVB Set to Face No. 10 GCU in Opener
THIS WEEK -- UCLA (10-9, 2-3 in 2020), ranked No. 9 in the pre-season American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll, begins play in the 2021 season with a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) match on Friday morning versus No. 10 Grand Canyon University (14-7, 4-2 in 2020). FIrst serve is at 11 a.m. PT in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom and the match is sponsored by Jersey Mike's.
All of this season's matches are scheduled to be played in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. No fans will be present for the 2021 home matches.
The Bruins return 17 players from the 2020 edition of UCLA men's volleyball, including 14 who saw match action last season ... Returning starters include --- outside hitter Austin Matautia, opposite Cole Ketrzynski, outside hitter Alex Knight, liberos Cole Pender / Cole Power. Among the non-returners are 2020 starters at setter, Mads Kyed Jensen, and middle blockers Matt Younggren and Daenan Gyimah. Returning setter Sam Kobrine started the last five matches of 2020. Newcomers include S/Opposite Miles Partain (Palisades HS) along with outside hitters Ethan Champlin (Classical Academy HS) and Grant Sloane (Northwood HS).
MATCH INFO. --
Jan. 29 - No. 9 UCLA vs. No. 10 Grand Canyon - 11 a.m.
Live Stats - http://stats.statbroadcast.com/statmonitr/?id=328337
Live Video/Audio - https://pac-12.com/live/ucla
LAST MEETING -- Last season, UCLA dropped its only meeting with the 'Lopes, on the road at Grand Canyon, 1-3 (25-20, 17-25, 23-25, 19-25).Cole Ketrzynski led the Bruin attack with 14 kills in that match. J.R. Norris IV served up two aces. UCLA owns a 5-1 all-time edge in play against Grand Canyon University. GCU features 2020 MPSF Freshman of the Year outside hitter Camden Gianni. He was named to the All-MPSF second team along with outside hitter Christian Janke who led the team in aces (37).
NOTES -- UCLA is ranked No. 9 to open the 2021 season ... The Bruins finished 2020 at No. 9 in the final AVCA Coaches poll after seeing their season end early due to the pandemic ... UCLA posted wins over CSUN (Mar. 5) and UC San Diego (Mar. 7) before the season was halted ... The final 2020 record was 10-9 overall with a 2-3 mark in MPSF action ... Cole Ketrzynski's 17 kills in last season's win at Concordia were the most by a Bruin true freshman since Micah Ma'a put down 18 balls against Hawai'i in Feb. 2016) tied his season-high (also 17 at Long Beach, v. Ohio State, at Princeton) ... Sam Kobrine totaled 25 kills, 25 digs and 7 blocks over the last 5 matches of 2020 ... Austin Matautia, who had three aces against Long Beach(h), hasd at least two aces in nine matches last season ... Middle blocker Daniel Matheney recorded 15 kills and 8 blocks in the last 3 matches of 2020 ... The MPSF coaches picked UCLA to finish third in the league race this season, behind BYU and Pepperdine and just ahead of GCU ... UCLA has ended a season ranked No. 1 in the AVCA poll a record nine times (1987, 1989, 1993, 1994, 1995,1996, 1998, 2000, 2006).
AT HOME -- UCLA posted a 3-3 overall mark at home in the 2020 season (2-0 in Pauley, 1-3 Wooden Center) ... UCLA has won its last 7 matches played in Pauley since dropping a Jan. 2019 decision to Long Beach State ... Over the past five seasons, UCLA is 40-5 in matches played in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom (2016: 10-1--lost to UCI, 2017: 8-1--CSUN, 2018: 13-2--Long Beach 2xs, 2019: 7-1--Long Beach, 2020: 2-0) ... The last team not named Long Beach State to defeat UCLA, in Pauley, was CSUN in February of 2017 (note: the Bruins did lose three home matches in the Wooden Center after the 2017 CSUN loss). The Bruins are slated to be at home for seven of their first 11 matches in 2021.
ON THE ROAD -- UCLA was 6-6 on the road last season, with a 1-0 mark in neutral site contests.
NCAA STATS -- UCLA ranked third in the NCAA last season in aces per set (1.90) ... it was ranked ninth nationally in hitting percentage at .302 in 2020.
MPSF -- Details regarding the postseason MPSF Championship Tournament will be announced at a later date. Due to the possibility of an unbalanced number of matches this year, conference wins (NOT win percentage), will be the first criteria looked at to determine MPSF Tournament seeding. Conference win percentage will be the first tiebreaker.