Fifth-ranked UCLA escapes with 3-2 win against seventh-ranked Penn State
After five sets, No. 5 UCLA prevailed against seventh-ranked Penn State 3-2 in a first-round match of the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Invitational in Honolulu on Thursday. Scores of the match were 19-25, 25-18, 18-25, 25-21 and 15-10. The Bruins improved to 4-1 on the season with the victory, while Penn State dropped its season-opener in the contest.
In the fifth set, UCLA took an early 2-1 lead on a kill by Dane Worley. After Penn State evened the score at seven, Worley took over with a kill and a pair of aces to send the Bruins ahead 10-7. Clayton Paullin's kill helped the Bruins to an 11-8 margin. A block by Steve O'Dell and Trent Kersten made it 13-9 and the Bruins went on to take a 15-10 decision on a PSU attack error.
In set one, the Bruins went down early 6-3 before a kill by Worley tied things up at eight. Penn State, playing its first match of the season, then surged to a 17-12 advantage. UCLA closed to 23-18, but the Nittany Lions remained in control and captured the set 25-19.
In the second set, UCLA took the early advantage at 5-2 on a kill by Kene Izuchukwu. PSU closed to within one at 7-6, before the Bruins moved out to an 11-7 margin on a pair of aces by O'Dell. UCLA maintained its edge at 18-13 before a Robart Page blast ended the set at 25-18.
In set three, Penn State raced out to a 6-2 edge. The Nittany Lions extended the lead to 12-4 before UCLA narrowed the margin to 13-8 on a couple of Worley kills. Penn State maintained its lead and anther Worley kill made it 20-16, but the Bruins could not sustain the momentum and fell 25-18.
UCLA moved out to a 6-2 lead in the fourth set, only to see PSU come back to narrow the gap to one at 10-9. UCLA still led by one after a kill by Worley which made it 16-15. A Page spike made it 18-16 and Michael Beals' ace made it 19-16. A big serve by Page helped the Bruins move ahead 22-17. PSU closed to within three at 23-20, but UCLA held on and sent the match into a final set with a 25-21 win.
Page led UCLA with 17 kills, Izuchukwu and Worley each totaled 13. Evan Mottram topped the Bruins with 15 digs. O'Dell handed out 45 set assists and Worley added five aces for the Bruins.