MVB Aces Fort Valley State in Three
The No. 1 UCLA men's volleyball team (15-3) defeated Fort Valley State University in a non-league match played in Georgia. Scores were 25-8, 25-10, 25-11. The Bruins set a school record with 18 service aces in the match and in the process tied the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) record established by USC in 2001 against UC Irvine. The old UCLA school mark was 15 aces racked up during matches against both Princeton (2018) and Limestone (2015).
Alex Knight, with 7 kills, led a balanced Bruin attack which hit a season-high .509 for the match. It marked the sixth time in the last seven matches that UCLA has recorded a .400 or better hitting percentage in a contest.
UCLA opened up a 5-2 lead to begin set one after kills from Knight and Merrick McHenry. A Guy Genis kill pushed the Bruins in front 11-4. Ethan Champlin got hot from the service line and served UCLA into a 19-6 lead after three straight aces. Another Knight swing made it 22-7. Blocks by McHenry/Knight and Kevin Kobrine/McHenry resulted in a 24-7 advantage. Kobrine's kill ended the set at 25-8.
A pair of aces by Miles Partain helped UCLA to a 3-0 start to set two. Cole Ketrzynski's kill made it 7-3. Daniel Matheney's swing pushed the margin to 10-4. Back-to-back aces from Ido David grew the difference to 14-4. Miles Partain and Matheney teamed up on a block for a 17-5 edge. A kill by J.R. Norris IV left the Bruins in front 22-7. Knight's kill made it 24-10 and a Fort Valley error ended the set for a 25-10 UCLA win.
Sam Burgi fired off a pair of aces early to ignite a 4-0 start to set three. Consecutive kills by Matheney put UCLA up 7-2. Kyle Vom Steeg's swing made it 11-5. Burgi then tied the school record with four straight aces in a set to increase the advantage to 17-6. A Matheney swing moved the score to 19-7. Vom Steeg added another kill for a 21-9 lead. Burgi finished off the set with back-to-back kills after sets from Ayrton Garcia-Jurado for a 25-11 win.
The Bruins have spent the week in the Atlanta area in support of a nationwide effort to grow the game of boy's and men's volleyball in the United States. The team conducted several youth and coaching clinics for local club, middle school and high school athletes and coaches in the greater Atlanta area. Fort Valley State is one of six new HBCU collegiate men's volleyball programs (also Benedict College, Central State University, Edward Watters College, Morehouse College, Kentucky State University) in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) which were started with the assistance of funding grants provided by First Point Volleyball Foundation and USA Volleyball.
The Bruins return to Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) play next week with a pair of matches against No. 5 USC (16-4). The first meeting between the rivals will be on Thursday night at the Galen Center Pavilion at 7 p.m. The Trojans and Bruins will then move the site of the battle to Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom on Saturday, April 2 at 5 p.m.