MVB Set to Meet UC Irvine in Pair of Matches
THIS WEEK -- No. 4 Bruins Square Off Twice Against No. 15 UC Irvine — UCLA (4-1), ranked No. 4 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll, will play at No. 15 UC Irvine (3-5) from the Big West Conference on Friday night before hosting the Anteaters on Saturday at 6 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom in a match televised by the Pac-12 Network Los Angeles. This will be the first meeting between the teams since UCLA won both matches played during the 2018 season. It will also mark the first of five straight matches against Big West Conference opposition for the Bruins.
UCLA dropped a 0-3 decision to No. 7 Lewis last Saturday night and are coming off of a 15-6 2021 season in which it finished second in the MPSF. The Bruins have outblocked the opposition 45.0 to 30.0 in total blocks so far this season while hitting .308 to the opponent's .223 mark. UCLA has been ranked as high as No. 2 in the AVCA poll in five of the last six seasons (not 2021).
• Feb. 4 at UC Irvine: 7 p.m. (Bren Center)
Live Stats: https://ucirvinesports.com/sidearmstats/mvball/summary
• Feb. 5 vs. UC Irvine: 6 p.m. (Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom)
TV: Pac-12 Network Los Angeles
Live Stats: http://stats.statbroadcast.com/broadcast/?id=382170
WHO'S NEXT -- UC Irvine has taken all five of its losses against MPSF opponents. The Anteaters have split a pair of matches against Stanford while dropping two matches each to USC and BYU. UCLA head coach John Speraw held the same position at UCI from 2003-2012 and captured NCAA men's volleyball championships while at the helm of the Anteaters in 2007, 2009, 2012.
LAST MEETING -- UCLA last battled UC Irvine in the 2018 season. The Bruins won both meetings - in five sets at UCLA and in four sets at Irvine.
NCAA RANKINGS -- The Bruins are rated in the Top 10 nationally in kills (4th-12.6), set assists (6th 11.8), blocks/set (8th-2.5); hitting percentage (9th .308) and opponent hitting percentage (9th .174). Merrick McHenry rates 8th in hitting % (.447) and 9th in blocks (1.23). Miles Partain rates 16th in the nation in set assists per frame at 8.9.
PLAYER NOTES -- Merrick McHenry leads MPSF in blocks/set and rates in the Top 10 in the NCAA in both blocks (9th) and hitting % (8th) ... he was errorless on 22 swings against Ohio State and Penn State while producing 12 kills ... honorable mention AVCA All-America pick and a second-team All-MPSF selection last season while rating 12th in the NCAA with a .423 hitting % and 18th nationally with a 1.02 blocks per set mark ... Guy Genis was named Off the Block's Middle Attacker All-American of the month of January ... rates 2nd in MPSF in hitting % (.558) ... he produced 15 kills on 21 swings while hitting .714 in matches against OSU and PSU which led him to be named offtheblock.com's Middle Attacker of the Week (Jan. 24)...Grant Sloane compiled a 10-kill, 2-block, 2-ace debut match last Thursday against CSUN ... Cole Ketrzynski had a season-high 11 kills in the win over Ohio State ... he was an honorable mention AVCA All-America selection and a first-team All-MPSF pick in 2021 and ranked among the nation's best last season in kills per set (12th-3.98), points per set (8th -4.78), hitting percentage (.345-21st) and aces per set (0.48-7th) ... had 2021 best of 24 kills vs. Concordia ... Cole Pender has handled 66 serves in the last three matches without a reception error ... had team-high honors in digs with 7 against both Penn State and CSUN ... saw action in 21 matches last season and recorded a .961 serve reception mark on 463 attempts ... Ethan Champlin tied his career-high with 18 kills (also last year vs. Stanford) agianst Penn State ... he was a Freshman All-America selection by offtheblock.com in 2021 ... Miles Partain had a career-best three service aces vs. CSUN ... he was named Molten/MPSF Defensive POW (Jan. 24) after 18 digs, a block solo and five block assists in wins over the Big Ten schools ... he 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 ... Ido David had a combined 17 kills and hit .344 in matches last week against CSUN and Lewis ... saw his first action for the Bruins against Ohio State and led the team with 14 kills ... Kevin Kobrine had 12 kills (.385), 6 digs, 5 blocks in win over Penn State ... he played in 16 matches in 2021 and finished the season strong with double-digit kills in five of the last six contests ... Alex Knight had a season-high 9 kills against Lewis ... added 8 kills in win over Penn State to go with 7 digs ... saw action in 11 matches in 2021 with four starts and registered a season-high 15 kills against Concordia, Irvine.
UCLA HOSTS NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP -- Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom will be the site of the 2022 Men's Volleyball Semis and Final on May 5 and May 7.