The potent offense of No. 4/4 UCLA met its match.
No. 1/1 Long Beach State limited UCLA to a season-low .214 attack percentage as the Beach defeated the defending NCAA champions 22-25, 25-21, 27-25, 25-19 on Friday in Long Beach, California.
Long Beach State had three players with at least four blocks and finished with 13 blocks – two more blocks than UCLA.
Middle attacker Simon Torwie led all players with a season-high eight blocks to help the Beach (10-0, 0-0 Big West) extend its season-opening winning streak to 10 matches. Outside attacker Clarke Godbold contributed six blocks, while middle attacker Lazar Bouchkov had four blocks.
Both Godbold and Bouchkov entered this home-and-home weekend series in the nation’s top five averaging more than 1.40 blocks per game.
Along with the blocking performance, All-American libero Mason Briggs had a match-high 11 digs.
This was the second match this season UCLA (8-3, 0-0 MPSF) failed to hit more than .300. In addition, UCLA came into the match third in the nation with a .382 attack percentage.
Long Beach State finished with a .286 attack percentage in front of a sold-out home crowd of 4,304 people.
Outside attacker Sotiris Siapanis had a match-high 18 kills on a .308 attack percentage, including having a game-high six kills in the second game. Opposite Skyler Varga added 15 kills on a team-best .480 attack percentage, and Godbold had 12 kills.
UCLA in the loss had two players with more than seven kills. Opposite Ido David had a team-high 15 kills, while middle attacker Merrick McHenry had 11 kills and one error on a match-best .600 attack percentage.
Long Beach State secured the victory with a match-best .414 attack percentage in the fourth game.
UCLA and Long Beach State were tied at 13-13 in the final game before the Beach went on an 8-2 run to take a lead that it would not relinquish. Varga had a kill to jumpstart the run and then added two more kills throughout the Long Beach State run.
Torwie in the third-game overtime delivered a game-winning ace to give the Beach a one-game lead. Long Beach State fought off three game-points en route the victory, including having a block from Torwie and Godbold to force the overtime session.
UCLA rallied from a seven-point deficit and tied the second game at 21-21. However, the Bruins inadvertently maxed out their six subs after pulling Rowan on a play for defensive purposes and were forced to play the remainder of the game without their All-American setter on the court.
Long Beach State closed out the second game on a 4-0 run with all its points coming off of UCLA errors, including two attack errors.
David led UCLA with four kills in its opening-game victory. The Bruins also overcame committing eight service errors in that game – more service errors than they would commit in the next three games combined.
Long Beach State with this victory remains one of the two undefeated teams in the nation.
This was the first meeting between UCLA and Long Beach State since the Bruins defeated the Beach in the NCAA Tournament semifinals last season.