A consistent big block helped No. 8 UCLA upset No. 4 Long Beach State at Walter Pyramid on Saturday night 25-23, 25-18, 22-25, 25-23 to snap a record-setting home winning streak for the Beach.
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The Bruins outblocked the Beach 14-3 and held LBSU to a .226 team hitting percentage.
“We struggled with consistency and the ability to get to the next point,” LBSU coach Alan Knipe said. “It was two teams trying to play real physical volleyball. These matches get us ready for our goals this season.”
LBSU had a balanced attack as Simon Anderson (11 kills, 2 aces), Shane Holdaway (11 kills) and Ethan Siegfried (10 kills, 12 digs) led the way. Setter Carlos Rivera finished with 41 assists and libero Mason Briggs had 11 digs.
This match started and finished incredibly close with 25 tie scores and 13 lead changes. LBSU led for most of the tight first set, but UCLA scored the last four points to take it. Knipe said his team suffered a hangover from not closing out the first set, and the Bruins used a 4-0 run at the end of the second set to grab the dominating lead.
The Beach stepped up at the net and held the Bruins to .100 hitting it the third set. LBSU broke a 19-19 tie with a kill from Holdaway and an ace from Siegfried that sparked a 4-1 run.
UCLA took a lead in the middle of the fourth set on a few LBSU miscues, and then held off a late charge from the Beach to clinch the victory.
“I think we were slow to adjust to things and we have to be better picking up the tendencies of the game,” Anderson said.
UCLA’s Cole Ketrzynski put down a game-high 17 kills as the Bruins beat the Beach for the first time in seven meetings.
The Beach had won a program-record 45 consecutive matches at home before Saturday— a streak that started after a 2016 loss to UCLA.
“The atmosphere here has been amazing and that’s a credit to the brand of volleyball we’ve been playing and the loyal fans who come and watch it,” Knipe said. “As for the streak goes, I haven’t said anything about it before and I’m not going to start now. I just don’t care. It’s just completely irrelevant to our team to talk about that at all… Let’s go play another game. Let’s go start another one.”
LBSU is at the Ohio State Tournament next weekend.