MVB Aces Eagles in MPSF Opener
The No. 1 UCLA men's volleyball team (9-2, 1-0) opened Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) play with a four-set win over Concordia University Irvine (5-3, 0-1) on Wednesday night in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. Scores were 25-21, 25-16, 20-25, 25-18. Ethan Champlin, who had a team-high 15 kills, led the way for the Bruins with a career-high six aces.
A pair of Grant Sloane kills evened the score at points four and six in the early going of set one. A Champlin swing to the deep corner put UCLA up 9-8. Guy Genis and Kevin Kobrine combined for a block and a Champlin ace put the Bruins in front 12-10. Champlin's kill upped the margin to 16-13. A couple of CUI errors followed by a Kobrine spike gave UCLA a 19-15 edge. A triple block by Champlin/Genis/Kobrine left the Bruins with a 22-19 lead. A Kobrine kill and a Merrick McHenry / Kobrine block ended the set at 25-21. It was Kobrine's third block of the set.
Concordia jumped out to a 2-4 advantage to begin set two. UCLA responded with four straight points behind Kobrine's serve to establish a 6-4 lead. Back-to-back kills from Champlin pushed the margin to 11-8. Another Champlin swing placed UCLA ahead 15-10. J..R. Norris IV's two kills upped the difference to 22-15. Norris and Kobrine teamed up for a block and a 24-16 lead. The fourth ace of the match by Champlin finished off the set at 25-16.
CUI broke a 7-all tie by scoring five of the next seven points to take a 9-12 margin in set three. After a couple of Bruin errors, the Eagle lead grew to 11-15. A sixth Bruin service error of the set put Concordia up 14-18. Champlin's kill and ace narrowed the deficit to 16-18. Ketrzynski's swing, after a dig by Matthew Aziz, drew UCLA to within 19-21. Three straight Bruin attack errors put CUI on set point, at 19-24. Kobrine saved one set point with a kill, but the Eagles put the ball away on their next opportunity to take the set 20-25. UCLA hit .115 with nine attack errors for the frame.
UCLA grabbed an early 3-1 lead after a couple of Ido David kills to start the fourth set. CUI evened the score at 6-all. An Eagle service error and attack error put UCLA up by two, at 10-8. Alex Knight delivered three straight kills for a 13-9 edge. The Bruins led 18-14 after another David kill. Champlin's career-best sixth service ace pushed the margin to 21-16. An ace from Kyle VomSteeg lifted the Bruins to set point and David's seventh kill of the frame ended the match at 25-18.
UCLA out hit the Eagles .311 to .106 on the night. The Bruins had 8 aces against 27 service errors. UCLA also won the battle of the block 12.0 to 10.0. Kobrine, with four block assists, McHenry with six and Miles Partain, with five block assists, each matched their career bests for the category.
The Bruins will play a return match with the Eagles in Irvine on Friday night at 7 p.m. before returning home next week to host a pair of matches against No. 9 Grand Canyon University on Mar. 3 and 4 in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom.