UCLA Wins Volleyball Title on Homecourt
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ UCLA outlasted a determined Hawaii squad making its first appearance in the championship game and beat the Rainbow Warriors 15-13, 12-15, 9-15, 17-15, 15-12 Saturday to defend its NCAA volleyball title.
The Bruins’ 16th championship _ all under coach Al Scates _ increased the school’s total of championships in all sports to an NCAA record 74.
UCLA senior setter and team captain Stein Metzger, who grew up in Honolulu and used to wipe the floor at the Rainbow Warriors’ home matches, and Tom Stillwell were the Bruins selected for the all-tournament team.
But it was freshman James Turner, who provided match point for UCLA by tipping the ball over the outstretched arms of Sivan Leone at the net.
The Bruins, playing in the title match for the 19th time, have won nine of their 15 NCAA volleyball championships on their homecourt at Pauley Pavilion _ where they are unbeaten in 24 NCAA tournament matches.
Rounding out the all-tournament team was Penn State’s Kevin Hourican, and Hawaii’s Yuval Katz, Jason Ring and Aaron Wilton.
UCLA opened the fifth game with a 4-1 spurt and never trailed. Katz, who shared college player of the year honors with Metzger, had three kills down the stretch to increase UCLA’s lead to 14-12 before Turner’s clinching play.
Hawaii (27-3) spotted UCLA a 4-0 lead in the fourth game before scoring the next seven points. The Bruins (26-5) came storming back, tying it 9-9 on a service ace by Trong Nguyen and regaining the lead at 11-10 on a kill by Stillwell.
UCLA increased the margin to 14-11 on a kill by Metzger, but Hawaii scored the next three points to tie it again. Katz, who had 41 kills in Game 4, spiked the ball out of bounds twice down the stretch, resulting in UCLA points, and Stillwell iced it with a blocking point against Ring.
The Rainbow Warriors opened Game 3 with a 6-0 run capped by Ring’s block of Turner’s spike. Naveh Milo and Leoni ended the game with a block against UCLA’s Brian Wells.
Wilton, son of Hawaii coach Mike Wilton, highlighted Game 2 with 11 kills in as many attempts.