UCLA overpowers Long Beach State in NCAA semifinals sweep

Photo courtesy of the NCAA

So much for the moment being too big for a freshman setter.

Andrew Rowan had 40 assists and guided the offense to a .458 attack percentage as the No. 1 seed UCLA swept Long Beach State 25-16, 25-14, 25-19 in the NCAA Tournament semifinals on Thursday in Fairfax, Virginia.

This was the highest attack percentage in a NCAA Tournament semifinals in 10 years. It also improved about the Bruins’ nation-best .381 attack percentage this season and was the sixth consecutive match that Rowan helped the Bruins hit more than .350.

UCLA hit at least .500 in each of the last two games, including a match-best .571 attack percentage in the final game to secure the team’s first NCAA Tournament finals berth in five years.

Two UCLA pin-hitters each had double-digit kills and more than a .600 attack percentage against Long Beach State.


Opposite Ido David finished with both a match-high 17 kills on a .625 attack percentage. Outside attacker Ethan Champlin contributed 14 kills and one error and hit .619.

Champlain along with outside attacker Alex Knight each added a match-high two aces.

Long Beach State was limited to a .232 attack percentage – more than .100 percentage points below its season average.

Outside attacker Sotiris Siapanis in the loss had a team-high 10 kills, while outside attacker Spencer Oliver added seven kills. Siapanis and Oliver were the only Beach players to have both more than four kills and hit more than .250.

UCLA libero Troy Gooch led the Bruins defensively with eight digs. Rowan, the National Newcomer of the Year and First-Team All-American, added five digs.

The Bruins led the third game 11-10 before going on 5-0 run to take a multiple-lead that it would not relinquish. Rowan during that that run had three consecutive kills

UCLA opened the second game with a 6-2 run that was capped off with kills from All-American middle attacker Merrick McHenry and Champlain. The Bruins led by as many as nine points and hit more than .500 for the majority of the game.

David in the opening game win led all players with seven kills. Champlain also had six kills and zero errors en route to the nine-point win.

UCLA with this victory will advance to the finals on Saturday and play the winner of the other semifinal match between Hawai’i and Penn State. The team is attempting to win its 20th NCAA championship in program history and its first national title since 2006.

The Bruins split the two-match regular season series against the Nittany Lions and lost a road match to the Rainbow Warriors.