HONOLULU -- Seventh-ranked UCLA won its first match of the season on Thursday night going the distance to defeat No. 11 Penn State in five sets in the opening match of the Outrigger Hotels Invitational. The Bruins battled back from a 2-1 deficit to pull out Sets 4 and 5 in a thrilling 25-15, 22-25, 23-25, 25-21, 16-14 victory.
UCLA used four consecutive aces by freshman Mitch Stahl (tying Adam Naeve’s school record) to open up an early lead in Set 1. The Bruins pulled away to a 16-8 lead and were ahead 19-9 before putting the Nittany Lions away 25-21.
Set 2 was tied at 11, 17 and 19. PSU broke out to a 21-19 advantage. UCLA closed to 22-21 but could not get closer and the Lions evened the match with a 25-22 win.
The third set was back and forth early before Penn State forced a Bruin time out after taking an 11-8 lead. UCLA rebounded to tie the score at 14 on a block by Trent Kersten and a kill by Jackson Bantle. The score was then knotted up at 18 and 19 before Penn State took a 21-19 edge. The Bruins closed to 24-23 but the Lions earned the set-deciding point for the 2-1 lead.
UCLA jumped out to a 5-1 lead in Set 4. PSU clawed its way back in to the set and narrowed the Bruin margin to two at 18-16. UCLA maintained a 20-18 lead, moved it out to 24-21, before a tip kill by Kersten kept the match going.
The fifth set turned in to the Robart Page show. A Page kill tied the score at 6. Another Page spike gave the Bruins the lead at 8-7. He added two more kills later which made it 10-9 Bruins. After Penn State evened things up at 12, Gonzalo Quiroga answered for a 13-12 UCLA lead. Points from Bantle and Spencer Rowe handed UCLA the 16-14 win.
Page finished with a career-high 23 kills while hitting .525 and added 11 digs and five blocks. Quiroga totaled 15 kills and Kersten added eight kills and six blocks. Setter Steve O’Dell registered 52 set assists. Libero Ian Sequeira recorded 11 digs.
No. 1 Long Beach State 3, California Baptist 0
RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- Top-ranked Long Beach State swept California Baptist 25-23, 25-21, 25-19 in its Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opener Thursday evening at Van Dyne Gym.
Seniors Taylor Crabb and Dalton Ammerman led the way with 15 and 13 kills, respectively. Crabb committed just one error on 24 swings for a .583 clip. Seniors Jeff Ornee and Ian Satterfield contributed nine kills each and both hit better than .400. On the night, Long Beach State registered an impressive .455 team hitting percentage.
Senior Connor Olbright directed the offense with 42 assists, while sophomore Andrew Sato had a match-high 11 digs.
Long Beach State (2-0, 1-0 MPSF) scored the first three points of the match and stayed out front until Cal Baptist pulled ahead 7-6 on a service ace. It then went back-and-forth with 14 tie scores before the 49ers went up 22-20. The Lancers came back to knot it up at 23, but consecutive kills from Taylor Gregory and Taylor Crabb gave LBSU the 25-23 win.
The 49ers pulled away late in Set 2 for the 25-21 victory. With the score deadlocked at 17, LBSU proceeded to go on a 5-1 run to hold a 22-18 advantage. Long Beach State then played a side out game the rest of the way.
LBSU erased an early deficit in the third frame as it trailed 6-2 before tying the score at 7. After trading points, the 49ers used an 11-5 spurt to take match point at 24-18. Cal Baptist was able to side out, but on the next play an Ammerman kill ended it at 25-19.
Cal Baptist (0-3, 0-2 MPSF) hit .361 on the evening and was led by Johannes Brink's match-high 16 kills.