MVB Hosts No. 8 GCU on Thursday and Friday
No. 1 BRUINS HOST SECOND-PLACE GCU In MPSF ACTION — UCLA (10-2, 2-0), ranked No. 1 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll, take on No. 8 Grand Canyon University (9-6, 3-1) in a pair of matches to be held in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom on Thursday (7 p.m.) and Friday (5 p.m.). It will be a meeting of first and second-place teams in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF). The Bruins opened MPSF play last week by winning both matches against Concordia, Irvine --- in four sets in Westwood (25-21, 25-16, 20-25, 25-18) and in three sets at CUI (25-13, 25-20, 25-15). GCU swept a pair of matches at BYU. UCLA captured all three meetings held last season against GCU. The Bruins opened the 2021 season by defeating the 'Lopes 3-0 in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. UCLA then won both matches played in Arizona, by 3-2 and 3-1 margins.
Mar. 3 - Grand Canyon at UCLA - 7 p.m.
Live Video: https://pac-12.com/live/ucla
Mar. 4 - Grand Canyon at UCLA - 5 p.m.
Live Video: https://pac-12.com/live/ucla
UCLA AS NO. 1 -- UCLA held its spot at the top in the AVCA poll for a second straight week. This year's top ranking marks the first appearance for the Bruins at No. 1 since week 12 of the 2016 season (week of Mar. 28). UCLA defeated then No. 1 Long Beach State in five sets on Feb. 19, 2022 to advance to the top of the poll. The Bruins were also ranked No. 1 in the 2016 campaign over an earlier three-week period in weeks 2, 3 and 4 (Jan. 18-Feb. 1). UCLA has been ranked as high as No. 2 in the AVCA poll in 6 of the last 7 seasons (not in 2021).
LAST MATCHES -- UCLA swept past CUI in Irvine (Feb. 25) behind 11 kills from both Ido David and Alex Knight. The Bruins hit a season-best .478 in completing the two-match sweep. UCLA opened MPSF play with a 3-1 win over Concordia (Feb. 23). Ethan Champlin tallied a career-best 22.0 points including a career-best six service aces in the victory. On Feb. 19, the Bruins defeated then-No. 1 Long Beach State on Collins Court in five sets by scores of 25-20, 25-23, 23-25, 21-25, 15-12. Ethan Champlin (13k), Ido David (12) and Guy Genis (11) led a balanced UCLA attack. Miles Partain had a couple of aces and a team-high 10 digs. Kevin Kobrine, Alex Knight and J.R. Norris IV came off the bench to combine for 11 kills and 3 blocks in the match.
MPSF -- The top-seeded team after the conclusion of regular season play will host the entire MPSF post-season Tournament beginning on Apr. 20. Pre-season MPSF coaches poll: 1-Pepperdine, 2-UCLA, 3-BYU, 4-Grand Canyon, 5-USC, 6-Stanford, 7-Concordia, Irvine.
NCAA / MPSF RANKINGS -- Entering the week the Bruins are rated in the Top 10 nationally in kills (2nd-13.17), set assists (4th-12.15) and hitting% (4th-.343). Miles Partain ranks 7th in the nation in set assists per frame at 10.09. UCLA leads the MPSF in hitting% (.343) and kills per set (13.17).
NOTES -- UCLA has hit for a higher percentage than its opponent it all 10 wins this season and had a season-high .478 mark in win at CUI last week ... Bruins held Concordia under .200 in six of the seven sets played last week ... Bruins have double-digit total blocks in last three matches and own 8-0 mark in matches when recording more blocks than opponent ... Ethan Champlin has an ace in each of the last six matches and a total of 15 over that span ... he rates 3rd in the MPSF and 22nd in NCAA in aces (0.46) ... had a career-best 6 aces in win over CUI(h) ... led UCLA with 15 kills vs. Concordia(h) ... he had 13 kills in win over Beach(h) ... registered a school record four-straight service aces in a set during win at UCSD ... Miles Partain is 7th in NCAA in set assists (10.09) average ... had a career-best three service aces vs. UCI and CSUN ... rates 10th in MPSF in aces (0.28) ... team hit season-best .478 at CUI and over .400 in both wins over UCI ... Guy Genis has hit .571 over the past 7 matches (52k-4e-84ta) ... he began the week first in the MPSF with a .593 hitting percentage ... hit .667 with 11 kills in win vs. Long Beach ... Merrick McHenry tied his career-high with 6 block assists in opening win over CUI ... he hit a season-high .667 on nine attempts (6 kills) in the first meeting with Long Beach ... had a season-high 13 kills in win at UC Irvine ... Ido David recorded a high of four aces in win at UCSD ... had a combined 39 kills and hit .424 in wins over UC Irvine ... Kevin Kobrine had 7 kills in win over CUI (h) ... 5 kills in win over Beach ... Grant Sloane posted a season-best 16 kills in win at UC Irvine ... Cole Pender had season-high 11 digs at UCI ... Alex Knight totaled season-best 11 kills, 8 digs in win at CUI ... J.R. Norris IV was strong from the service line in win vs. Beach ... Matthew Aziz has seen action in the last three matches at libero.
AT HOME -- The Bruins are 7-1 this season at home (3-1 in Wooden; 4-0 in Pauley) ... last season UCLA posted a 7-2 home record, with all matches being played in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom ... Over the past six-plus seasons, UCLA is 51-7 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: 7-2--lost to USC, BYU; 2022: 4-0). UCLA is 3-1 this season on Collins Court and 15-7 over the last six-plus seasons in the Wooden Center.