MVB This Week — The No. 2-ranked Bruins (4-1, 2-0) will host Cal Baptist (2-3, 1-1) on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins then battle USC (2-3, 1-1 with a match Jan. 18 at UCSB) on Friday night at 8 p.m. in a battle to be televised by the Pac-12 Networks. UCLA opened MPSF action last week with a pair of sweeps (25-16, 25-18, 25-22) over UC Irvine and (25-15, 25-13, 25-17) over UC San Diego.
Live Coverage — Fans can follow matches on UCLA’s live Twitter feed @UCLAMVB.
*Cal Baptist—Live video— http://pac-12.com/live/ucla — Live stats — http://www.statbroadcast.com/events/statbroadcast.php?t=1&gid=ucla; Live internet radio (Darren Preston and Denny Cline on call) — http://www.uclabruins.com/sports/2016/8/16/live-audio.aspx
*USC —Live TV Pac-12 Networks (Kevin Barnett and Dain Blanton on the call); Live stats — http://www.statbroadcast.com/events/statbroadcast.php?t=1&gid=ucla; Live internet radio – http://www.uclabruins.com/sports/2016/8/16/live-audio.aspx
Honors — Micah Ma’a was named the Sports Imports / AVCA Div. I-II Men’s Volleyball National Player of the Week on Jan. 17 for his play in wins over UC I (8 kills, .800, 17 set ast., 3 aces, 7 digs, 1 blk) and UCSD (3 kills, .333, 21 set ast., 3 aces, 6 digs, 2 blk) … Daenan Gyimah was named the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week for his play vs. UCI (14 kills, .737, 2 blk) and UCSD (2 kills, .500, 4 blks) … 2017 Watch Listees: Karch Kiraly Award (best outside attacker) JT Hatch, Jake Arnitz/ Erik Shoji Award (best libero) Davis Gillett / Ryan Millar Award (best middle attacker) Mitch Stahl / Lloy Ball Award (best setter) Micah Ma’a…Three Bruins were named to the 2016 AVCA All-America squad – 1st team Micah Ma’a; 2nd team Mitch Stahl, Jake Arnitz. Earning 1st team All-MPSF honors were Ma’a and Arnitz; 2nd team was Stahl; Honorable Mention went to JT Hatch and Hagen Smith. Arnitz was named to the NCAA All-Tournament team. Ma’a was named Off the Block’s Server of the Year and a Freshman All-American.
By the Numbers – UCLA registered 16 of its season total of 30 aces in the two matches last week, 11 coming from Mitch Stahl (5) and Micah Ma’a (6)…UCLA hit .465 as team last week in wins over UCI and UCSD …Micah Ma’a has started all 37 career matches …Mitch Stahl moved up to fifth on the all-time career block assist list (rally scoring era 2001-present) at the school vs. UC Irvine … Daenan Gyimah has a 21 kill, 1 error, 34 attacks stat line (.588) from last three matches vs. Ohio State, UC Irvine and UCSD … Jake Arnitz upped his hitting percentage from .227 as a freshman to .313 in 2016 … Stahl improved his blocking average from 0.9 per set to 1.19 and his hitting % from .365 in 2015 to .471 last season … Hagen Smith upped his kills per set average from 0.1 in 2015 to 1.2 in 2016 … Ma’a, who had his first three aces of 2017 vs. UC I, had at least one ace in 27 of the 32 total matches last season; he had seven matches with more than a pair of aces … In the process, he destroyed the old freshman ace record of Gonzalo Quiroga (39 in 2011) with 58 … Oliver Martin increased his hitting percentage from .213 in 2015 to .447 in 2016 and his block per set mark from 0.4 to 0.9 … JT Hatch had 11 matches with multiple aces last season — he had 13 aces in 2015 and finished with 39 in 2016 … Smith had seven matches with nine or more digs and 12 matches with at least five kills … Jackson Bantle had 16 service aces last season … Ma’a had an MPSF high 7 aces in match versus CSUN on Jan. 29, 2016 … His triple-double v. BYU (4/2/16) was the first by an MPSF player since Jonah Seif of UCSB on Feb. 6, 2014…The last time UCLA won more than 25 matches was when it captured 26 in 2006 on the way to an NCAA title…The Bruins’ 10-0 start last year was their best since the 1998 squad earned wins in the first 16 matches of that season…A year ago, the Bruins participated in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since it captured the program’s 19th title in 2006 when it took on Ohio State in the semifinals.
Scouting the Opponents — Cal Baptist opened up MPSF play last week with a five set win over CSUN (25-23, 13-25, 17-25, 25-16, 15-9) and a loss in four to Long Beach State (18-25, 14-25, 25-19, 18-25).
USC began MPSF play at home by defeating Long Beach (25-19, 25-20, 22-25, 25-22) and losing in straight sets to CSUN (20-25, 21-25, 18-25). Currently, UCLA leads this season’s Crosstown Cup competition between the Trojans and the Bruins, 30-20 (NOTE: women’s basketball teams will play Jan. 18).
This Week’s NCAA Stats — UCLA is listed No. 2 in hitting percentage (.375)…No. 4 in blocks per set (2.66)…No. 7 in Aces per set (1.88) and Opponent Hitting % (.181) …Individually, freshman Daenan Gyimah is 4th in hitting % (.560) and tied for 6th in blocks per set (1.17) … Micah Ma’a and Mitch Stahl are tied for 15th nationally in blocks per set (1.06).
Coach Speraw: Year Five at UCLA — John Speraw (UCLA ’95), who is in his fifth season as the head coach at his alma mater, has captured three NCAA titles as a head coach (2012, 2009, 2007 at UCI), three as an assistant coach (1996, 1998, 2000 at UCLA) and two as a player (1993, 1995 at UCLA). Also the head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team, Speraw led that squad to the 2015 FIVB World Cup and automatic qualification for the 2016 Olympic Games where his squad took home the Bronze medal. Speraw came back to UCLA after 10 seasons at UC Irvine where he led the Anteaters to three NCAA championships, and a 199-106 (.646) overall record. In winning that 2007 title, Speraw became the first individual to produce a championship as a head coach, assistant coach and player in collegiate men’s volleyball history. He was named head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team on Mar. 25, 2013. In the summer of 2014, he guided the U.S. team to a win over top-ranked Brazil in the FIVB World League gold-medal match. In the summer of 2012, he had served as an assistant coach for the National Team, which advanced to the quarterfinals of the London Olympics. He was also an assistant on the gold medal winning U.S. squad in the 2008 Beijing Games. Speraw won the National Coach of the Year award in 2007.
Recapping — Last Saturday, UCLA swept UCSD 25-15, 25-13, 25-17. The Bruins hit .557 for the match and registered nine aces on the night, a school record-tying seven coming in the second set. Mitch Stahl and Micah Ma’a led the way from the service line with four and three aces, respectively. Jake Arnitz and JT Hatch tied for match-high kill honors with nine each.
Last Thursday, UCLA opened MPSF play by handing No. 7 UC Irvine its first loss of the season, 25-16, 25-18, 25-22. The Bruins hit .395 for the match and were led by freshman middle blocker Daenan Gyimah‘s 14 kills. Gyimah hit .737 for the match and tallied a pair of aces and a couple of blocks. Ma’a registered his first three aces of the season and added eight kills (.800) to go with seven digs. Hagen Smith totaled 20 set assists and Jackson Bantle had seven digs. UCLA won the blocking battle 6.0 to 2.0 and out aced the ‘Eaters 7-2 for the match.
Top-ranked Ohio State defeated No.2 UCLA in four sets to capture its 25th straight match. Scores were 22-25, 25-18, 21-25 23-25. Jake Arnitz had a team-high 16 kills, while hitting .440 to lead the attack. UCLA won the blocking battle 10.0 to 8.0. The serving game went to the Buckeyes 9 to 4. UCLA had 18 service errors to 26 fo OSU.
UCLA dealt No. 13 Penn State a 3-0 setback at Columbus, Ohio. Scores were 25-18, 25-22, 25-17. The Bruins hit over .300 for each set and were led by freshman middle blocker Daenan Gyimah‘s 10 kills (.500). Mitch Stahl added nine kills (.467).
The Bruins swept past host #11 Loyola-Chicago in the season-opening match for both teams. Scores of the non-conference contest were 25-19, 25-18, 25-16. The Bruins were led by the 11 kills of Arnitz, who hit .400 for the contest. UCLA out blocked the Ramblers 11.0 to 2.0 for the match and out hit their hosts .384 to .167.
Elsewhere in MPSF: Jan. 18 – USC at UCSB; Hawai’i at Long Beach; Jan. 19 – BYU at CSUN, Jan. 20 – BYU at CSUN, Cal Baptist at UCSB, UC Irvine at UCSD, Hawai’i at Long Beach, Stanford at Pepperdine; Jan. 21 – Hawai’i at UC Irvine, UCSD at Concordia;. Jan. 25 – Cal Baptist at Pepperdine; Jan. 26 – Cal Lutheran at CSUN, USC at Stanford; Jan. 27 – Hope International at CSUN, UC Irvine at BYU, Cal Baptist at Stanford, Long Beach v. St. Francis, Grand View at Hawai’i; Jan. 28 – Hope International at UCSD, USC at Pepperdine, UC Irvine at BYU, Long Beach at Ohio State, Grand View at Hawai’i
News courtesy of UCLA Athletics.