MVB Goes the Distance to Crash the Waves
The No. 8 UCLA men's volleyball team used a season-high 13 service aces, a career-high six coming from Austin Matautia, to rally past No. 4 Pepperdine in five sets in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) contest on Thursday evening in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. Scores of the match were 23-25, 25-12, 22-25, 25-14, 15-10. The Bruins, 9-3 on the season, have now won four straight matches and seven of the last eight contests overall.
In set one, UCLA broke a 9-all tie with four straight points thanks to a Merrick McHenry kill and his tough serve. An Ethan Champlin kill, Cole Ketrzynski / Ian Parish block and Ketrzynski kill fueled the run. The Waves countered with four straight of their own and evened the score at 14. The Bruins went up 18-16 after a Ketrzynski kill and then 20-17 on an ace from Matautia. Pepperdine came back to take a 21-22 lead after a couple of Bruin attack errors. Champlin's swing off the block tied the score at 22-all, but the Waves tallied the next two points and captured the set on a kill at 23-25.
UCLA recorded the first six points of the second set thanks to the serve of Matautia and the net play of McHenry, who had two kills and two blocks. A Matautia kill, a Pepperdine error and a Parish block widened the margin to 11-3. The gap grew to 10 after Parish added an ace. Back-to-back aces by Matautia pushed the Bruins up 19-6. Sam Kobrine's kill made it 22-9. Parish put away an overpass for a 24-12 lead and UCLA won the set 25-12 on a Waves error. The Bruins hit .333 for the frame to -0.235.
The Waves broke a 6-all tie with two straight points to open up a 6-8 advantage in set three. UCLA closed to 8-9 after a McHenry block. Pepperdine extended its lead to 12-15 and then 16-21. A Ketrzynski ace and kill sliced the margin to 19-22. A Champlin ace brought the Bruins to within two, at 21-23. A Sam Kobrine kill saved a set point at 22-24. The Waves took the set on a Bruin service error for a 22-25 win. Pepperdine hit .550 for the set.
UCLA tallied the first three points of set four on the way to a 7-3 lead. A series of Pepperdine errors expanded the gap to 10-4. The Bruins upped the margin to 12-5 after an ace from Ketrzynski. Blocks by Parish / Matautia and then Parish / Sam Kobrine made it 15-7. McHenry's swing out of the middle left the Bruins in front 17-9. A Champlin / Parish block and a kill by Champlin grew the gap to 21-12. A couple of Champlin aces ended the set at 25-14. Pepperdine was limited to a -0.80 attack percentage while UCLA hit .458.
After Pepperdine moved to a 1-3 lead the begin set five, UCLA evened the score at 4-all on a Ketrzynski kill and went in front, 5-4, after a McHenry / Champlin block. Matautia followed with another ace for a 6-4 lead. The Waves rallied to level the score at 6 and 7-each. A block put the Waves up 7-8. The Bruins charged back in front at 10-8 after a Parish / Champlin block and a Pepperdine error. A Parish kill followed by a Parish / Matautia block kept UCLA up 12-9. Sam Kobrine added a kill for a 14-9 edge. Matautia's cross court spike ended the match at 15-10.
Parish ended with a career-best seven block assists and two block solos. UCLA out blocked Pepperdine 16.0 to 9.0 and outhit the Waves .333 to .158 for the match while limiting the visitors to negative hitting percentages in sets two, four and five. The same two teams will battle on Saturday night in Malibu.