In an opening season tournament played in Los Angeles – dubbed the Wooden Classic – both #4 UCLA and #20 UC San Diego went unbeaten. It wasn’t a true-round robin, as the two teams played three matches each while both the Bruins and Tritons played two and did not face each other. Instead, the two will play in a de facto Wooden Classic Championship on January 16 in a match not part of the tournament when UCLA visits UCSD.
Below are the standings from the Wooden Classic. Although the tournament was more about scheduling and playing a set of teams, UCLA would have won top prize based on set differential.
|Record||Sets Won||Sets Lost||Set +/-|
VolleyMob Wooden Classic MVPs – Jake Arnitz, UCLA; Tanner Syftestad, UCSD
Not only did UCLA win both matches but Arnitz was at the forefront of it all. He had a a team-best 21 kills for the two matches, doing so on an efficient .444 mark. Additionally, he notched four aces, three digs and three blocks for the weekend.
For Syftestad, he was a one-man wrecking ball for UC San Diego in their two wins. He posted 49 kills to go with 12 digs, nine blocks and four aces in the pair of matches. It wasn’t a test of pure volume either, as he still hit .361 on 97 attempts.
- #4 UCLA Def. (RV) King 3-0 (25-17, 25-16, 25-11)
- #4 UCLA Def. McKendree 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 29-27)
UCLA earned both of their wins in sweep fashion by downing (RV) King and McKendree. They hit .403 and .356 in the two matches respectively and showed off a killer serve with 21 total aces for the pair of matches. Jake Arnitz was the MVP choice, but UCLA saw plenty of other contributors over the weekend as well.
UC SAN DIEGO TRITONS
- #20 UCSD Def. McKendree 3-2 (25-22, 22-25, 29-27, 21-25, 15-13)
- #20 UCSD Def. (RV) King 3-1 (25-19, 25-23, 26-28, 25-18)
UCSD technically tied for the Wooden Classic win based on record, since the two southern California teams did not play as part of the event. They had to overcome some adversity to do so, mainly in the McKendree match. Unlike UCLA, they didn’t have a match before this tournament so they had to work some kinks out early, but getting both wins behind unbelievable play from Tanner Syftestad was a good start to 2018.
- (RV) King Lost at #4 UCLA 0-3 (17-25, 16-25, 11-25)
- (RV) King Def. McKendree 3-1 (25-18, 18-25, 25-23, 26-24)
- (RV) King Lost vs. #20 UCSD 1-3 (19-25, 23-25, 28-26, 18-25)
King had the difficult task of coming across the country to southern California to face two teams ranked in the VolleyMob Top 20 Men’s Power Rankings. They couldn’t get the victory in either, but salvaged the weekend in between the two with a win over McKendree. That should set up well as they are preparing for a run at the Conference Carolinas title and should be more battle tested now.
- McKendree Lost vs. #20 UCSD 2-3 (22-25, 25-22, 27-29, 25-21, 13-15)
- McKendree Lost vs. (RV) King 1-3 (18-25, 25-18, 23-25, 24-26)
- McKendree Lost at #4 UCLA 0-3 (21-25, 22-25, 27-29)
McKendree comes out of this weekend at 0-4 overall, but they’ve played two top five teams (UCLA and Long Beach State) along with #20 UCSD and a team on the cusp in King. They also battled King and UCSD down to the wire, so although the record doesn’t look good, they’ve got potential to turn it around. Three winnable matches come next on their schedule before another ranked test, so they’ll look to chalk up some wins next week.