Nothing came easy for No. 6/6 UCLA, but it to survive an upset scare.
UCLA fought-off six-match points before beating last-place Cal Baptist 25-23, 23-25, 25-15, 23-25, 20-18 on Saturday in Riverside, California, to remain in serious contention for a possible top-four seed to the MPSF Tournament.
All-American outside attacker Jake Arnitz led all players with a season-high 21 kills on a .386 attack percentage. Arnitz was one of three Bruins to have double-digit kills in the victory.
UCLA finished with 12 aces — nine more than Cal Baptist. Middle attacker Mitch Stahl, outside attacker Dylan Missry and setter Hagen Smith each had three aces, including Stahl having an ace in the fifth-game overtime.
Outside attacker Rohit Paul in the loss had a team-high 14 kills, while opposite Kevin Vaz added nine kills. Vaz also had a kill that would have extended the fifth-game overtime, but he was called for a centerline violation resulting in the Bruins being awarded the match-winning point.
With this victory, UCLA extends its winning streak to seven matches and remains in fifth place in the MPSF. UCLA can move into the top four of the MPSF and earn home court advantage for the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals if it sweeps a two-match home series against No. 4/4 Hawai’i next week.
Check out the video highlights of the match filmed by Off the Block special contributor Jonathan Bates.