The 2018 season is starting to pick up, with two matches taking place on Wednesday, January 3 on the west coast. LBSU and UCLA each picked up sweeps in their opening matches of the season and will look to continue their winning trend through the remainder of the weekend as LBSU is heading to the UC Santa Barbara Asics Invitational while UCLA will host the Wooden Classic Tournament.
McKendree will stay on the west coast for the weekend, participating in the Wooden Classic while NJIT will head to the UC Santa Barbara Asics Invite.
#2 LBSU def. McKendree 3-0, (25-16, 28-26, 25-22)
LBSU rolled through McKendree in three sets behind nine kills each from TJ DeFalco and Kyle Ensing. The Beach’s defense kept them in the match against McKendree, as they held their opponent to a low .162 hitting clip on the night. Though they passed well, there was a look of discomfort from the back row on blocking defense but head coach Alan Knipe said that is something they will just have to figure out throughout the season.
#4 UCLA def. NJIT 3-0, (25-17, 25-22, 25-20)
UCLA used a balanced offense that was led by Christian Hessenauer’s 12 kills along with Jake Arnitz’s 10 to take down NJIT in their home opener. Micah Ma’a paced the offense with 32 assists and led the Bruins to a .384 hitting percentage in the win while holding their opponent’s to a .242 hitting clip.
Both teams used a small lineup in the match, with NJIT using nine players while the Bruins limited their play to just eight.