MVB Takes Down No. 1 Beach
The No. 2 UCLA men's volleyball team (8-2) took down No. 1 Long Beach State (7-2) in a non-conference match played before a sellout crowd of over 2,000 fans on Saturday evening on Collins Court in the John Wooden Center. Scores of the contest were 25-20, 25-23, 23-25, 21-25, 15-12. Kevin Kobrine, Alex Knight and J.R. Norris IV each came off the bench to supply UCLA with a big lift down the stretch. Ethan Champlin topped a balanced Bruin attack with 13 kills. Guy Genis added 11 kills and five blocks while hitting .667. UCLA outhit the Beach .331 to .286 for the match and .444 to .238 in the decisive fifth set.
In set one, Long Beach took an early 4-6 lead. UCLA tied the score at points six and seven after a couple of kills by Genis. With the score even at 10-all, the Bruins rattled off three straight on a service error, a triple block by Grant Sloane, Ido David, Merrick McHenry and a David swing. A Sloane kill extended the lead to 16-11. The Beach closed to 20-16. A Champlin kill made it 21-16 and a Champlin ace handed UCLA set point at 24-18. The Beach saved two set points before McHenry put the ball away for a 25-20 win. UCLA hit .524 for the frame. David led UCLA with six kills in set one.
UCLA owned the early 6-4 edge in set two after a Sloane kill. The Beach evened the score at points 8 through 13 before taking a 13-14 advantage. UCLA knotted the score at 14-all on a service error. Long Beach tallied the next three points on a couple of kills and a Bruin error for a 14-17 lead. The Bruins battled back to tie the score at 18 after a great dig from Matthew Aziz. A Beach attack error pushed UCLA in front 19-18. Sloane's tip tied the score at 20-each and his swing off hands put UCLA up 22-21. Another Sloane spike lifted UCLA into a 23-22 edge. A pair of Champlin kills handed UCLA a look at set point, at 24-23, and then delivered the set at 25-23.
The Beach moved out to a 5-7 advantage to start set three. UCLA leveled the score at 9-all after a block solo by Champlin. A kill by McHenry, a Beach error and a Champlin kill left UCLA with a 13-10 lead. However, Long Beach answered with four straight to move back in front 13-14. A David kill was on the line to even the score at 15-apiece. The teams traded service errors to push the score into a knot at 18-each. The Beach then registered four of the next five points with a flurry of kills for a 19-22 edge. A Kevin Kobrine smash narrowed the gap to 20-22 and a Genis kill reduced the margin to 23-24. The Beach captured the set 23-25 after a Bruin service error.
Long Beach gained a 3-6 advantage early in set four. The Bruins rallied to even the score at 8's following a couple of Beach errors. Long Beach then pulled out to a 9-12 advantage. The Bruins came back to level the score at 12-all and advanced into the lead thanks to the serve of Norris. An Alex Knight swing put UCLA up 15-12. Long Beach responded to even the score at 16-each. Kills from Knight and Miles Partain leveled the score at points 17 and 18. A Champlin roll shot made it 20-all. The Beach earned the next two points on a kill and a block and then went up 20-23 after another kill. The Beach used a block to earn set point at 21-25. The Bruins hit .172 for the frame.
UCLA took a 4-2 lead to begin set five after a Champlin kill on an overpass. Long Beach stormed back with four straight points to flip the score to 4-6. UCLA tied it at six after a couple of Beach errors. After Long Beach led 6-8, UCLA answered with three straight including a go-ahead ace from Miles Partain. Kobrine's kill down the line made it 10-9 for the Bruins. A Long Beach error and a Champlin ace left the Bruins in front 12-10. Knight's kill opened the margin to 13-10. Kobrine went cross court for a 14-10 advantage. McHenry's swing out of the middle ended the set and the match at 15-12.
The Bruins will begin Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) league play next week with a pair of matches against Concordia, Irvine. UCLA will host the Eagles on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom.