Fifth-ranked UCLA rallied for another five-set victory on Friday, defeating eighth-ranked Cal State Northridge at the Matadome.
The Bruins won their fourth match in a row and beat the Matadors for the second time this season in five sets. Scores were 20-25, 25-19, 22-25, 25-12, 15-10 in front of 872 fans. The Bruins improved to 15-9 overall, 11-7 in MPSF competition. The Matadors fell to 10-8.
Most importantly, UCLA kept pace with Pepperdine, a 3-0 winner against UC San Diego, for the fourth and final home playoff spot. With two weeks off, the Bruins are one-half match behind the Waves in the league race.
Much like Wednesday’s match at Long Beach State, the Bruins had to overcome slow play in the first set before getting on track to win. They hit below .059 in the opening set, but finished the match with a .448 attack percentage.
After falling behind two sets to one, UCLA took command of the fourth set by scoring the first four points and finally building a six-point lead as Cal State Northridge burned its final timeout trailing 9-3. The hosts never threatened in the set, hitting below .100 to the Bruins’ .600.
In the fifth set, the teams traded points until the Bruins broke it open at 4-4. The Matadors served out and UCLA’s Spencer Rowe recorded a kill for a 6-4 lead. Following a CSUN point, the Bruins scored three points on kills by juniors Dane Worley, Rowe and Gonzalo Quiroga. The hosts called their first timeout trailing 9-5. After the break, the Bruins outscored their opponents 6-4, winning on Rowe’s kill down the middle.
Quiorga led all players with 22 kills (.576) and 24.5 points. Worley ended a solid week, recording 12 kills (.409), four aces and three block assists for 17.5 points. Junior Robart Page added 10 kills and sophomores Kene Izuchukwu and Trent Kersten came off the bench to combine for nine kills without an error. Junior Connor Bannan recorded 55 set assists and libero Evan Mottram added a match-high 14 digs.
John Baker led CS Northridge with 15 kills.