No Doubt About It: Freshman setter, No. 4/4 UCLA dominates No. 2/2 Long Beach in sweep

Photo courtesy of UCLA athletics

There was plenty that could have gone wrong.

Whether it was enduring days of drama around its setter position or coming off its first loss of season, there was tons of speculation about No. 4/4 UCLA entering one of its biggest non-conference matches of the season.

Setter Andrew Rowan, though, did more than meet the moment – the freshman delivered one of the best performances this year.

Rowan guided the offense to a season-best .551 attack percentage as UCLA swept No. 2/2 Long Beach State 25-19, 25-21, 25-20 on Thursday in front of a home crowd of 2,245 people.

This victory and offensive performance comes days after the 2022 MPSF Player of the Year setter Miles Partain opted to depart the team.


Partain, who spent the offseason playing in the AVP Tournament and was the 2022 Offensive Player of the Year, opened this season in the Bruins’ starting lineup. The All-American did not have significant playing time in four of the team’s last five matches while on the roster, including being on the bench as Rowan started against No. 3/3 Penn State on Saturday.

Rowan helped limit UCLA (10-1, 0-0 MPSF) to commit six attack errors against Long Beach State – its second fewest errors this season. In addition, the Bruins did not commit an attack error in the second game and hit a match-best .619 in the final game to complete the sweep in the opener of the home-and-home series.

Along with the offensive performance, Rowan led all players with both six digs and five blocks.

Opposite Ido David in the victory finished with a match-high 17 kills on a .696 attack percentage and was one three Bruins with one or fewer errors and at five kills.

Outside attacker Alex Knight had 12 kills and hit .579 with half of those kills coming in the second game. Middle attacker Merrick McHenry also had seven kills on a .583 attack percentage and added the match-winning ace in the opening game.

Long Beach State in its first loss of the season was held to a .190 attack percentage, including hitting zero in the first game.

Outside attacker Sotiris Siapanis led the Beach (6-1, 0-0 Big West) with 13 kills, while middle attacker Simon Torwie contributed six kills. Siapanis and Torwie were the only Long Beach State players to have both more than two kills and hit more than .300.

This was the first meeting between the two teams since Long Beach State rallied from a two-game deficit to beat UCLA in the NCAA Tournament semifinals last season.

The Bruins and the Beach will conclude their non-conference series on Friday in Long Beach, California. Long Beach State is on a 15-match home winning streak dating back to last season, including a regular season home win against UCLA in 2022.