All-American middle attacker Mitch Stahl simply called his teammate Olive Martin unreal against one of the top blocking teams in the nation.
Martin finished with a team-high 12 kills and zero attack errors on an .857 attack percentage to help No. 7/7 UCLA defeat No. 5/5 Lewis 25-20, 25-21, 20-25, 25-18 on Wednesday in Los Angeles.
“That is the probably best I’ve ever seen that guy play,” Stahl said in a postmatch interview with Off the Block. “That guy is baller. He’s unreal.”
Martin was one of two Bruins with double-digit kills as UCLA out-hit Lewis .333 to .182 in the non-conference victory. Opposite Christian Hessenauer also had 12 kills, while All-American outside attacker Jack Arnitz added nine kills and two aces.
Outside attacker JT Hatch coming off the bench led all players with four aces, including back-to-back aces to close-out the match.
UCLA (12-7, 8-6 MPSF) for the third consecutive match switched from its 6-2 offense to a 5-1 offense. In addition, setter Hagen Smith started in place of All-American setter Micah Ma’a who has been playing this season with an injury.
Despite the loss, Lewis out-blocked UCLA 14 to 6 and held the Bruins to a negative attack percentage in their third-game victory.
Outside attacker Trevor Weiskircher finished with both a match-high six blocks and 13 kills while hitting .400. Middle attacker John Hodul also had six blocks and middle attacker Jacob Schmiegelt contributed five blocks.
Lewis (15-4, 9-2 MIVA) entered this opener of its three-match West Coast trip in the nation’s top five with a 2.53 blocks per game average.
This was UCLA’s fourth win against a top-10 nationally ranked team this season. The victory also keeps the Bruins in contention for a possible NCAA Tournament at-large bid, according to the latest Off the Block bracketology.
The road loss ends Lewis’ seven-match winning streak. Lewis will continue its California trip with a non-conference match against No. 14 USC on Thursday.
Check out the video highlights of the match filmed by Off the Block special contributor Jonathan Bates.