MVB Takes on Trojans Twice
No. 1 BRUINS vs. No. 5 USC — UCLA (15-3, 5-1), ranked No. 1 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll, will play a pair of matches against Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) rival No. 5 USC (17-4, 4-2) with first-place in the league on the line. The winner of the MPSF will host the entire league tournament this season. The Trojans, 12-0 at home this season, will host the first match of the week at 7 p.m. on Thursday night. The two teams will battle in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom on Saturday at 5 p.m. (Pac-12 Network Los Angeles will broadcast that match). The Bruins captured both 2021 matches played at USC's Galen Center Pavilion a year ago by 3-1 scores, while the Trojans returned the favor by besting the Bruins (1-3) in the lone meeting in Westwood. UCLA dropped matches in 2019 (2-3) and 2018 (2-3) on the Trojan's home court. The teams met only once, in Westwood, in 2020 which was a 3-1 Bruin victory. When playing more than once in a season, UCLA is the last team to sweep a season series (2017).
Thur. Mar. 31 - UCLA at USC - 7 p.m. Galen Center Pavilion
Live Video: https://pac-12.com/live/usc-2
Live Stats: https://usctrojans.com/sidearmstats/mvball/summary
Sat. Apr. 2 - USC at UCLA - 5 p.m. Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom
TV: Pac-12 Los Angeles https://pac-12.com/live?networks=P12LAX
Live Stats: http://stats.statbroadcast.com/broadcast/?id=382175
THE SERIES AHEAD -- UCLA (complete records date back to 1976) leads the series against the Trojans 89-39. The Bruins hold a slim 5-4 series edge from 2018-2021. The Bruins finish off the regular season with two home matches (USC, Pepperdine) and four road contests (at USC, at Pepperdine and two at BYU). Over the past four seasons, UCLA is 13-14 in battles against these three MPSF opponents --- (5-4 v. USC, 3-4 v. Pepp., 5-6 v. BYU). Over that period, UCLA is 2-2 at USC, 0-3 at Pepperdine and 1-5 at BYU while posting home marks of 3-1 v. USC, 3-0 v. Pepperdine and 4-1 v. BYU.
MPSF -- The top-seeded team after the conclusion of regular season play will host the entire MPSF post-season Tournament beginning on Apr. 20 with three quarterfinal matches. Pre-season MPSF coaches poll: 1-Pepperdine, 2-UCLA, 3-BYU, 4-Grand Canyon, 5-USC, 6-Stanford, 7-Concordia, Irvine.
MPSF Standings as of Mar. 30
Grand Canyon 4-4
NCAA / MPSF RANKINGS -- Entering the week the Bruins are rated in the Top 10 nationally in hitting % (1st-.372), kills (2nd-13.34), set assists (5th-12.24) and blocks (8th-2.40). Merrick McHenry leads the nation in hitting percentage at .542. Miles Partain ranks 7th in the nation in set assists per frame at 10.26. Guy Genis is 12th in blocks (1.05). UCLA leads the MPSF in hitting% (.372), kills per set (13.34) and aces per set (1.69).
NOTES -- UCLA has hit for a higher percentage than its opponent in all 15 wins this season and has hit at least .350 in 13 matches in 2021 ... It has hit at least .400 in 6 of the last 7 matches and had a season-high .576 mark in win at Morehouse (3/25) ... Bruins own a 12-1 mark in matches when recording more blocks than the opponent ... Ethan Champlin has an ace in 11 of the last 12 matches and a total of 25 over that span ... he began the week 3rd in the MPSF and 13th in NCAA in aces (0.50) ... had a career-best 6 aces in win over CUI(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 (10.26) average ... has a career-best three service aces vs. UCI and CSUN ... has 19 block assists in last 6 MPSF matches ... team hit season-best .576 at Morehouse (3/25) and over .400 in 6 of the last 7 matches ... Guy Genis has hit .507 over the past 10 matches (86k-14e-142ta) ... began the week 12th in the NCAA in blocks (1.07 per set) ... had season-best of 9 block assists at Stanford (3/12) ... Merrick McHenry opened the week leading the nation in hitting percentage (.542) ... has hit 47k-3e-62 (.710) over last 7 matches ... he tied his career-high with 6 block assists vs. GCU (3/3) ... Kevin Kobrine is ranked 21st nationally in hitting percentage (.353) ... he has 45 kills over last 4 MPSF matches ... season-high 14 kills vs. GCU (3/4) ... Ido David recorded a high of four aces in win at UCSD ... 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 hit a perfect 1.000 with 10 kills at Morehouse to go with 4 aces.
AT HOME/AWAY -- UCLA is 6-2 in away matches this season (losses at Stanford, at Beach) ... the Bruins are 9-1 this season at home (3-1 in Wooden-loss to Lewis; 6-0 in Pauley) ... Over the past six-plus seasons, UCLA is 53-7 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: 6-0). UCLA is 3-1 this season on Collins Court and 15-7 over the last six-plus seasons in the John Wooden Center.
UCLA HOSTS 2022 NCAA MEN'S NATIONAL COLLEGIATE VB CHAMPIONSHIP -- Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom will be the site of the 2022 Men's Volleyball Semis and Final on May 5 and 7 along with a pair of Opening Round Matches on May 3. For ticket information go to: www.uclabruins.com/ncaamvb