MPSF Volleyball Results, Feb. 8

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Feb. 8, 2018

Grand Canyon 3, Pepperdine 2

Recap by GCU

PHOENIX -- The Grand Canyon University men's volleyball team earned their first ever MPSF win on Thursday night coming back from an 0-2 deficit to defeat Pepperdine 3-2. Set scores were 17-25, 17-25, 25-14, 25-20 and 15-9. The win is GCU's fifth in a row and moves them to 11-2 and 1-0 in conference play while Pepperdine drops to 4-3 and 0-1.

"We have been getting off to slow starts in the last few matches and it has hurt us," said head coach Matt Werle. "Pepperdine came out ripping from the service line and attacked aggressively. Our service game needs to improve and get tougher in order to keep teams like that out of system."

GCU's slow start looked to be the end but the Lopes kept fighting and refused to give up. Down 0-2 after 17-25 defeats in both sets, Werle changed the lineup for the third and the GCU attack came alive. Luke Turner, Zachary Melcher and Cullen Mosher provided the spark GCU needed to mount a comeback. The third set saw a .571 hitting percentage for the Lopes followed by marks of .480 and .500 to bring the match average to a .392 mark compared to the Waves .254. GCU would lead in kills, blocks, assists and digs and only trail in aces and points on the night.

Mosher led the match with 15 kills to go along with a .462 hitting percentage and an ace. Turner and Will Schwob also netted double-digit kills with 12 and 11 respectively with Turner hitting at a .733 mark. Melcher came off the bench at the end of the second set and would go on to lead the Lopes in assists with 27 in addition to three kills and an ace. On defense, both Ashton King and Caleb Blazer led the Lopes with six blocks with Sky Engleman adding a team-high 12 digs.

"I am very pleased with the way Cullen and Luke attacked tonight," commented Werle. "Both of those guys were unstoppable on the outside for the final three sets."

The Waves looked like they would out-play GCU in every part of the game through the first two sets. The visitors hit .524 and .407 while keeping the Lopes below .300. GCU had one lead in the match which came at the 1-0 point in the second set. After that the Waves would take over again and jumped out to a commanding 0-2 match lead.

Instead of allowing the first home sweep since 2015 the Lopes made some lineup changes and started the third with Turner and Melcher. The changes paid off early helping GCU run up a 6-2 lead. Pepperdine responded by bringing the set within one before the Lopes used a 4-0 with a Mosher kill and ace at the bookends. From there, the visitors would fail to come within three points and trailed by as much as 11 before King buried a kill to keep the Lopes alive, 1-2.

The momentum stayed with GCU as they jumped out to another early lead in the fourth, this time with the score reading 5-2. The Lopes would keep a healthy lead until back-to-back aces helped the Waves land five of six points and brought the set to 23-20. Mosher would go on to land a quick kill before a Waves attack error sealed the set and tied the match at two apiece.

The Lopes set the tone early in the fifth thanks to a 3-0 lead behind a Melcher ace, Blazer kill and a huge triple-block from Schwob, Blazer and Turner which forced a Pepperdine timeout. GCU would go up by as much as seven thanks in part to kills from Mosher and King in addition to back-to-back Pepperdine errors. The Waves tried to stop the Lopes reverse sweep with two late points but Mosher would mark the comeback complete with a kill to give the Lopes the 15-9 set and match win.

Werle knows how tough these conference matches can be and is expecting more battles saying, "The quicker our guys understand that the MPSF is going to be a grind each match, the better off we will be when starting matches. With that being said, I am very proud of the way these guys never gave up!"

Looking ahead

The Lopes will continue their home stand and conference play on Saturday, Jan. 10 when No. 2 UCLA comes to Antelope Gym. The Bruins are 12-1 on the season and have been a constant at the top of the AVCA rankings. The match is set to begin at 6 p.m. (MST).

UCLA 3, Concordia 0

Recap by UCLA

The No. 2-ranked UCLA men's volleyball team opened up Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) league play with a sweep at Concordia, Irvine on Thursday night. Scores of the match were 25-18, 28-26, 25-17. The Bruins hit at least .400 for the fourth straight match and improved to 12-1, 1-0 on the season. UCLA will play on Saturday night at No. 10 Grand Canyon (10-2) which has lost to only Hawai'i and UC Irvine this season.

In set one, UCLA moved out to a 5-3 lead on a block by Oliver Martin and Christian Hessenauer. After a kill and an ace by JT Hatch, the Bruins upped the advantage to 9-6. A Jake Arnitz kill made it 11-8. Concordia closed to 12-11, but UCLA answered with the next three points. A Hessenauer swing lifted UCLA to a 18-13 edge. Micah Ma'a went over on two for a 22-15 lead. Kills by Arnitz, Hessenauer and a Concordia error ended the set at 25-18. UCLA hit .462 as a team with Hessenauer totaling five kills for the set.

Concordia snagged a 3-6 lead to begin set two. UCLA was forced to play catch-up and evened the score at points seven through 10. Concordia then rattled off five of the next six points. The Bruins battled back to even the score at 19 on an ace by Ma'a. Another ace, this one by Arnitz, tied the score at 21. CUI tallied the next two points before UCLA tied the score at 24 on a kill by Hessenauer. Concordia then fought off a couple of set points, but a Ma'a kill and a Ma'a / Daenan Gyimah block handed UCLA the set at 28-26.

UCLA took the early lead in set three at 5-3. Concordia came back to go ahead 9-10. The Bruins went back on top after kills by Arnitz and Gyimah for a 12-10 advantage and built up the margin from there. After a Hessenauer block, the lead had grown to 17-13. A kill by freshman Grant Maleski made it 20-14. Another Hessenauer swing and the score was 22-16. Martin's kill and then ace took it to set point where Ma'a finished off the Eagles with a block for a 25-17 win.

Hessenauer led UCLA with 12 kills (.333), two aces and a couple of blocks. Hatch added eight kills (.357), while Martin finished with six kills (.667) and a pair of aces. Ma'a had 36 set assists for the Bruins who hit an even .400 as a team for the match. Arnitz totaled seven kills and Maleski tallied the first kill of his career in set three.

BYU 3, UC San Diego 1

Recap by BYU

LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Senior outside hitter Brenden Sander and No. 7 BYU men's volleyball topped UC San Diego in four sets (18-25, 25-19, 25-22, 25-16) Thursday night at RIMAC Arena.

"We had a few key guys carry us through the first part of the match," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "Brenden did a phenomenal job leading the group, and we followed his lead. We were happy with our service pressure tonight."

Sander led the Cougars with 15 kills on a .419 clip to go with a career-high 11 digs for just his second-career double-double. Leo Durkin set the team with 46 assists and Gabi Garcia Fernandez had 11 kills, eight digs and six blocks. Price Jarman collected seven blocks in the win.

Four-straight BYU (7-4) attack errors helped UC San Diego (7-4) take an 8-4 lead early in the first set. The Tritons led by as many as five at 11-6 following a block, but a pair of kills by Miki Jauhiainen kept the Cougars in the set, down 11-8. UC San Diego then followed with a 6-0 run to go back up 17-8. BYU came back within four after a kill by Jarman, but the Tritons cruised through to the end of the set, winning 25-18.

The Cougars took a 3-0 lead to start the second set after kills by Sander and Jauhiainen. UC San Diego evened the score, however, at 7-all following a service ace. BYU went on a 4-1 run to go up 14-12, forcing a timeout from the Tritons. UC San Diego then responded by scoring five of the next six points to take a 17-15 advantage. With Sander at the service line, the Cougars scored five-straight points to go up 20-17, and BYU continued to dominate from there, taking the set 25-19.

The Tritons jumped out to a 6-3 lead in the third set, but the Cougars evened things up at 10 apiece. UC San Diego then capitalized off of several BYU errors to take a 16-11 advantage, forcing a Cougar timeout. The Cougars then rallied with multiple kills from Fernandez to tie the set at 17-all. BYU led at 21-20 following a block by Christian Rupert and Durkin, and a kill and pair of blocks from Sander ended the set 25-22.

The Cougars took a 7-3 lead on a Sander kill and stayed ahead 14-8 following a Storm Fa'agata-Tufuga kill and ace. Another Sander kill made it 18-12 before BYU cruised to a 25-16 victory, winning the set and match.

The Cougars stay on the road next, beginning Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play at No. 14 USC Saturday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m. PST at the Galen Center. There will be an audio stream as well as live stats available on the BYU men's volleyball schedule page.

USC 3, Stanford 2

Recap by USC

LOS ANGELES--Jack Wyett had a match-high 22 kills and 8 digs to help the No. 14-ranked USC men's volleyball team snap a 7-match losing streak and defeat unranked Stanford, 25-20, 25-23, 21-25, 21-25, 15-10, in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opener for both teams on Thursday (Feb. 8) at USC's Galen Center.

USC upped its overall record to 4-7, while the Cardinal fell to 2-9.

Wyett hit .439 in the match, while teammate Ryan Moss added 18 kills, 10 digs, 4 blocks and 2 aces, Gianluca Grasso had 16 kills and 8 digs and Sam Lewis had 9 kills (hitting .538) and 4 blocks.

For Stanford, Kevin Rakestraw had 18 kills while hitting .516, Jaylen Jasper had 14 kills, 12 digs and 4 aces, Eric Beatty also had 14 kills, Kyler Presho had 12 kills (hitting .476) and Jake Stuebner had 9 digs.

USC hit .396 to Stanford's .350. The Cardinal served 7 aces, while USC posted 7.0 blocks.

USC scored back-to-back points to open a 17-15 lead in the first set and then pulled away while hitting .543 and getting 15 digs. The second set was tight throughout until the Trojans scored consecutive points to go up 24-22, all they needed to capture the set while hitting .467. It was more of the same in the third set, as the score was close until late when the Cardinal notched the final 4 points while hitting .433. USC jumped out to a quick 4-1 edge in the fourth set and extended it to 9-4 before the Cardinal charged back, scoring 3 straight to go up 16-15 and then tallying 4 out of 5 points for a comfortable 22-19 margin (Stanford had 3 aces and 15 blocks in the set). USC turned a 3-1 deficit in the fifth set into an 8-5 lead and the Cardinal couldn't catch up as Troy hit a perfect 1.000.

USC returns to action on Saturday (Feb. 10) when it hosts No. 7 BYU at 7 p.m. PT in the Galen Center in another MPSF contest.