No. 2/2 UCLA rolls past No. 3/3 Grand Canyon, moves into tie atop MPSF

Photo courtesy of UCLA athletics

It wasn’t the typical statistical performance from Ethan Champlin, but the outside attacker came through at the most pivotal moment with first place in the MPSF on the line.

Champlin with No. 2/2 UCLA facing a three-point deficit late in the second game had two blocks and a kill during a 6-1 run as the defending NCAA champions rallied to win the game and then sweep No. 3/3 Grand Canyon 25-16, 25-22, 25-19 on Friday in Los Angeles.

The All-American was limited to three kills and a zero attack percentage – the first time Champlin hit less than .300 since moving from libero back to outside attacker in February. Champlin, though, finished with a season-high four blocks in the series-opening win that moved the Bruins and Antelopes into a tie for first place in the MPSF.

UCLA playing in front of a home crowd of 1,479 people had at least a .500 attack percentage in two of three games and for the match out-hit Grand Canyon .441 to .203.


Outside attacker Cooper Robinson finished with eight kills and one error on a .778 attack percentage.

Robinson was one of three UCLA starters to hit more than .500 against the Antelopes. Middle attacker Sean McQuiggan had six kills and hit .556, while middle attacker Merrick McHenry added five kills and zero errors on a team-best .833 attack percentage.

Opposite Grant Sloane led the Bruins with 10 kills on a .381 attack percentage.

Along with running the offense, setter Andrew Rowan had a match-high three aces. Rowan also had an ace to cap off the Bruins’ 6-1 run late in the second game.

Grand Canyon middle attacker Cameron Thorne in the loss had five kills on a perfect 1.000 attack percentage. Thorne, though, was the only Grand Canyon player to have at least five kills and hit more than .250.

The Antelopes hit a match-worst negative-.118 attack percentage in the first-game loss, but rebounded to more than .300 in each of the final two games.

Pin-hitter Camden Gianni led Grand Canyon with both eight kills and two aces.

Grand Canyon and UCLA will conclude their two-match series on Saturday with the winner moving into sole possession of first place entering the final week of the regular season. The MPSF regular season champion along with earning the No. 1 seed to the conference tournament will receive a bye to the semifinals.