MVB Heads to USC for a Pair of Matches
THIS WEEK --- UCLA (2-2), ranked No. 7 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll, will travel across town for a pair of Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) matches against USC (1-0) --- on Thursday (Galen Center) and Saturday (Galen Pavilion). Both matches are set to begin at 5 p.m. The Trojans dealt the Bruins a 1-3 setback last Saturday in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. Last season, UCLA defeated USC in four sets in Pauley Pavilion in the only meeting of 2020. The Trojans have defeated UCLA 3-2 in the each of the last two meetings played in the Galen Center in 2019 and 2018. The Bruins won the 2017 away match in straight sets in Galen Center. Check usctrojans.com for video and live stats links.
UCLA will return home next week to host Concordia, Irvine on Thursday. All of this season's home matches are scheduled to be played in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. No fans will be present for the 2021 UCLA home matches.
LAST MEETING -- Last Saturday, the Trojans outhit the Bruins .246 to .175 to come away with a 30-28, 32-30, 19-25, 26-24 win in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. Sam Kobrine led UCLA with a career-best 14 kills. Ethan Champlin added 13 kills and three blocks. Last season, UCLA defeated USC in four sets in Pauley Pavilion in the lone meeting (23-25,25-22,25-14,25-10). The Bruins outhit the Trojans .391 to .212 while enjoying a 10.5 to 1.0 edge in total blocks. Cole Ketrzynski had 15 kills to lead the attack.
NOTES -- Sam Kobrine posted a career high with 14 kills and tied his career best with 10 digs in a loss to USC while splitting time between hitter and setter positions ... Ethan Champlin had a career-high 13 kills against USC (2/13) ... he was named Molten/Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Defensive Player of the Week (2/8) after his performance at BYU - 15 digs, 6 blocks, 2 aces, 18 kills and handled 40 of 41 serves without error in the two matches ... Austin Matautia had 9 kills vs. USC (2/13) ... he hit .400 with 8 kills in the win at BYU and added a team-high 9 kills in the loss ... Kyle Vom Steeg totaled 14 kills in a pair of starts at BYU, his first starts as a Bruin ... Adam Parks registered 2 block solos and 3 blocks assists versus USC (2/13) in a start at middle blocker ... Sam Burgi recorded a career-best six kills in a start against the Trojans (2/13) ... Cole Pender had 11 digs, one shy of his career best, in the 2021 opener against GCU ... Middle blocker Daniel Matheney put down a career-best 10 spikes versus GCU in the opener while hitting .500, recorded 15 kills and 8 blocks in the last 3 matches of 2020 ... Cole Ketrzynski, who was unavailable for the past three matches, paced UCLA with 13 kills in the opener against GCU ... His 17 kills in last season's win at Concordia which were the most by a Bruin true freshman since Micah Ma'a put down 18 balls against Hawai'i in Feb. 2016 ... The MPSF coaches picked UCLA to finish third in the league race this season, behind BYU and Pepperdine and just ahead of GCU.
AT HOME -- The Bruins have split their first two home matches ... UCLA had an eight-match Pauley Pavilion win streak cancelled with the USC loss (2/13) ... Over the past five-plus seasons, UCLA is 41-6 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; 2021: 1-1--USC).
ON THE ROAD -- UCLA is 1-1 on the road this season after splitting a pair of matches at BYU.
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.
AVCA Coaches Poll (Feb. 15)
1. BYU (8 1st pl. votes) 233 3-1
2. Hawai'i (8) 218 0-0
3. UC Santa Barbara 194 0-0
4. Lewis 192 6-1
5. Long Beach State 164 0-0
6. Pepperdine 151 2-2
7. UCLA 136 2-2
8. UC Irvine 129 0-0
9. UC San Diego 89 0-0
10. Grand Canyon 86 1-1
11. Loyola-Chicago 72 8-0
12. Penn State 69 6-2
13. George Mason 57 5-1
14. McKendree 31 5-0
15. NJIT 29 3-3