In a head-to-head matchup that has now hit the century mark it was UCLA getting the win for the second night in a row beating The Beach 3-1 at the Walter Pyramid.
After the win for the Bruins Thursday night the all-time series lead was extended to 54-49 in UCLA’s favor. Where The Beach has found its success though is inside of the Walter Pyramid, leading the series at home 20-17 before Friday’s game.
Before the doubleheader the teams last matched in the 2022 NCAA Final Four, as The Beach completed a reverse sweep to advance to the National Championship.
“Our guys were really disappointed in the way we played last night,” head coach Alan Knipe said. “I was really, really happy with the response and the energy level. I thought there was a lot of things we did well.”
In getting swept Thursday LBSU lost its first game of the season, suffering the same fate as its previous loss that came at the hands of Hawaii for the National Championship.
The Beach prevented UCLA from taking four sets off of the team in a row as they opened Friday’s game with a 25-18 set win.
It was a strong bounce-back after an ugly outing in Los Angeles the night before with Sotiris Siapanis leading LBSU with six kills and a .625 attacking percentage. While defensively Mason Briggs started the night with seven digs.
“Execution after 20 is going to be a big deal, whether it be on the block and defense side, or whether it’s going to be on the offensive side,” Knipe said.
That first set was the only one The Beach would claim with UCLA cleaning up its game and taking the next three sets by scores of, 21-25, 23-25 and 23-25.
Unlike the game from the night before, The Beach were the better team in terms of statistics as they led in every category but blocks. They outhit the Bruins by .043% but fell short in back-to-back tight sets to close out the game
Senior middle blocker Shane Holdaway was back in action after missing Thursday’s game while in concussion protocol. He finished with 10 kills and had the highest kill percentage for LBSU which sat at .625%.
Siapanis would end the game as the kill leader for either team finishing with 17, while Briggs totaled 13 digs.
“A lot of credit to UCLA, when you don’t have an opportunity to get in the gym, work on anything it’s just grit,” Knipe said. “It’s just a gut check. And our guys showed what they can do.”
The team will get a week off from matches, not returning to the court until Feb. 17 against the New Jersey Institute of Technology, as it plays again at the Walter Pyramid and looks to return to the win column.