MVB Goes Down in Four
The No. 6 UCLA men's volleyball team (2-2) dropped a four-set decision to USC (1-0) on Saturday evening in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) match played in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. Scores of the contest were 28-30, 30-32, 25-19, 24-26. The Trojans outhit UCLA .246 to .175 on the night. Setter/hitter Sam Kobrine led the Bruins with a career-best 14 kills. Ethan Champlin added 13 kills and three block solos.
UCLA started slowly and trailed 5-10 out of the gate in set one. A triple-block by Adam Parks, Sam Burgi and Austin Matautia made it 8-11. A Kobrine kill closed the gap to 14-16. A Matautia spike, paired with a couple of Trojan errors, evened the score at 18-all. The score was then tied at each point up through 28. UCLA had three looks at set point while the Trojans found the answer on their third attempt for a 28-30 win. USC hit .360 for the set to .148 for the Bruins.
UCLA went down early again in set two, at 3-8, forcing a quick timeout. A Burgi tip for a kill narrowed the margin to 8-11. USC answered by scoring the next two points to establish another five-point advantage. Back-to-back kills from Kobrine made it 13-16. USC kept the pressure on and took a 16-21 lead. UCLA closed to 20-22 following a Trojan error and a Champlin kill. A kill by Marcus Partain made it 21-23. Kobrine kills evened the score at 24, 25 and 26. Swings by Parks leveled the score at 27 and 28. USC saved a couple of set points before capitalizing on two UCLA errors to win the set 30-32.
The Bruins went up 3-1 to begin the third set. USC rallied to go in front 5-7. An ace by Champlin and a block by Ian Parish / Partain in the midst of four straight points by UCLA provided the Bruins with a 9-7 edge. A Kobrine kill and a another Parish block added up to a 16-12 advantage. An second ace by Champlin lifted the Bruins into a 19-13 lead. Ian Eschenberg's first ace of the season handed UCLA its biggest lead of the set at 23-16. Kills by Parks and Matautia clinched the set at 25-19.
UCLA fell behind 3-7 at the start to set four. The Bruins trailed 9-11 after a Matautia kill and a Trojan error. A Kobrine kill and another SC error trimmed the margin to 12-13. Champlin's kill and block solo leveled the score at 14-all. Trojan errors at the service line and on attack pushed UCLA in front 17-16. A Parish block incresed the margin to 19-17. The Trojans rallied to put the visitors on top 20-22. A service error and a Champlin smash evened the score at 22. The Bruins saved two set points before dropping a 24-26 decision.
UCLA will travel to USC for matches on Feb. 18 and Feb. 20. Each match is slated to begin at 5 p.m.