MVB Hosts Pac-12 / Big Ten Challenge
COMING UP -- UCLA (1-0), ranked No. 2 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll, will host No. 11 Ohio State (3-0) and No. 3 Penn State (4-0) on Friday and Saturday in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom in the BigTen/Pac-12 Challenge. UCLA posted a season-opening win last week over Princeton (25-12, 25-22, 25-22 and is coming off of a 15-6 2021 season in which it finished second in the MPSF.
Jan. 22 - Penn State vs. UCLA - 7:30 p.m.
Video Stream: https://pac-12.com/live?networks=P12I
More Pac-12 Insider info is here: https://pac-12.com/insider
Live Stats: http://statb.us/b/382167
Also Ohio State vs. USC - 5 p.m.
Live Stats: http://statb.us/b/383347
No. 12 USC will also meet the two Big Ten squads in the Challenge which features teams which have combined for 28 NCAA men's volleyball titles. Ohio State was picked to finish third in the Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) for 2022 behind Loyola-Chicago and Lewis. The Buckeyes feature top outside hitters Sotiris Siapanis, an AVCA honorable mention All-America last season and the MIVA Newcomer of the Year, along with Martin Lallemand, a first-team All-MIVA pick. Penn State returns three senior second-team AVCA All-America selections from a year ago -- Opp. Cal Fisher, S Cole Bogner, OH Brett Wildman. The Nittany Lions have bested MPSF opponents BYU and Grand Canyon over a total of four matches, each in straight sets this season. USC has also captured wins in its first four matches of 2022 to get off to its best start since 2015. Bruin Hall of Famer Jeff Nygaard (at UCLA 1992-95) is the head coach of the Trojans.
CHAMPIONSHIP VOLLEYBALL -- The four teams in the Challenge have combined to win 28 NCAA men's volleyball championships over the years.
UCLA 19 (1970, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1989, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2006);
USC 4 (1977, 1980, 1988, 1990); Ohio State 3 (2011, 2016, 2017); Penn State 2 (1994, 2008).
LAST MEETING -- UCLA took two out of the three matches played last season against the Trojans. In the 2020 Challenge at Penn State, the Bruins lost its last match against the Nittany Lions (0-3) and defeated Ohio State (3-1). In 2019, in matches at USC, defeated both Penn State and Ohio State in straight sets, in the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge.
WHO'S BACK -- UCLA returns starters Cole Ketrzynski-OH/Opp, Merrick McHenry-MB, Ethan Champlin-OH, Ian Parish-MB, Cole Pender-L while losing setter Sam Kobrine (grad transfer to USC) and outside hitter Austin Matautia from last year's starting lineup ... both Marcus and Miles Partain return with setting experience for the Bruins ... Also returnning with playing experience under their belts are Kyle Vom Steeg-Opp, J.R. Norris-MB, Kevin Kobrine-Opp/OH, Alex Knight-OH, Daniel Matheney-MB, Sam Burgi-OH, Ian Eschenberg-OH ... Grant Sloane-OH and Guy Genis-MB are back after redshirting last season ... Newcomers include Ido David-OH/Opp, Aryton Garcia-Jurado-S (transfer from George Mason), Sean McQuiggan-MB, Cooper Robinson-OH, Matthew Aziz-L, Matthew Edwards-MB.
PLAYER NOTES -- Cole Ketrzynski was an honorable mention AVCA All-America selection last season and a first-team All-MPSF pick ... he ranked among the nation's best in 2021 in kills per set (12th-3.98), points per set (8th -4.78), hitting percentage (.345-21st) and aces per set (0.48-7th) ... he reached double-digits in kills in 14 2021 matches, with a best of 24 vs. Concordia, Irvine ... Cole Pender saw action in 21 matches last season and recorded a .961 serve reception mark on 463 attempts ... Merrick McHenry was an honorable mention AVCA All-America pick and a second-team All-MPSF selection ... he rated 12th in the NCAA with a .423 hitting % and 18th nationally with a 1.02 blocks per set mark ... Ethan Champlin started 14 matches in his freshman season and ranked second on the team in kills per set (2.6) and third in aces (0.39) ... he was a Freshman All-America selection by Offtheblock.com ... Miles Partain played in seven matches in 2021 as a back-up setter ... he was named Volleyballmag.com's 2021 AVP Best Defensive Player on the beach ... Marcus Partain saw action in 7 matches in 2021 and had a season-high 3 kills and 4 digs vs. USC ... Ian Parish played in 19 matches in 2021 and hit a team-best .533 for the season ... he posted a season-best 9 kills in a win over Pepperdine ... Kevin Kobrine played in 16 matches and finished the season strong with double-digit kills in five of the last six contests ... he tallied a pair of double-doubles (v. BYU 23k, 12d; v. Concordia 10k, 11 d) ... Alex Knight saw action in 11 matches with four starts and registered a season-high 15 kills against Concordia, Irvine.
AT HOME -- The Bruins posted a 7-2 home record in 2021 with all matches being played in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom ... UCLA had an eight-match Pauley Pavilion win streak canceled with the USC loss (2/13) ... Over the past six seasons, UCLA is 47-7 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: 5-2--lost to USC, BYU).
UCLA HOSTS NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP -- Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom will be the site of the 2022 Men's Volleyball Championship on May 5 and 7.