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COLLEGES / ALAN OTA : Bruins Rekindle Memories of 1989 for Coach Scates

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As he watched the UCLA men’s volleyball team prepare for the season, Coach Al Scates had a special feeling he hadn’t experienced since 1989, when the Bruins last won an NCAA championship.

After the opening week of play, Scates’ sentiments have been bolstered.

At the Collegiate Invitational at UC Santa Barbara last weekend, the top-ranked Bruins defeated the ninth-ranked Gauchos, 15-4, 15-10, 15-7, in the championship match. UCLA also beat No. 3 Stanford and No. 5 USC in the preliminary rounds.

“This team really has that same intensity as the 1989 team,” said Scates, who has guided the Bruins to 13 NCAA titles in 31 seasons as coach. “I like our chances of going all the way.”

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Senior All-American setter Mike Sealy was voted the tournament’s most valuable player for the second consecutive year and senior All-American Dan Landry and sophomore Jeff Nygaard also earned all-tournament honors.

In the three-game match against Santa Barbara, Nygaard had six blocks, which equaled the total for the entire Santa Barbara team. “He’s a real force at the net,” Scates said.

“Dan Landry was phenomenal in his hitting against Stanford and USC. Just outstanding. And Mike Sealy is the setter we’ve always wanted him to be. With the full weight program, he’s now quicker and jumping higher.”

The Bruins have a .366 hitting percentage and have limited opponents to .085 going into Friday’s Kilgour Cup match against Cal State Long Beach at 7:30 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion.

“This will be a key early season match for us,” Scates said.

The 49ers, who were 27-4 last year and ranked No. 6 by Volleyball Monthly, will be playing their season opener. Long Beach is led by Brent Hilliard, the nation’s only collegian from the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team.

“He’s one of the finest hitters in volleyball, and that’s not just in college,” Scates said. “Nobody in the world can stop him. And he leads a very strong Long Beach team.”

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The Kilgour Cup was established 16 years ago and held as a benefit for Kirk Kilgour, a former UCLA All-American who was left a quadriplegic after a training accident in 1976.

UCLA won the Kilgour event for the first 13 years and Long Beach has won the past two.

In a replay of last year’s NCAA title match, second-ranked Pepperdine defeated No. 3 Stanford, 15-10, 4-15, 15-7, 15-9, for third place in the Collegiate Invitational.

In preliminary rounds, the Waves defeated No. 4 Cal State Northridge and lost to No. 9 UC Santa Barbara.

Senior All-American outside hitter Tom Sorenson was an all-tournament selection.

“It was a good tournament for us because we got to play several matches and experiment with different lineup combinations,” Coach Marv Dunphy said.

The Waves play at UC Irvine tonight at 7. On Saturday, Pepperdine will play an alumni match at 3 p.m. at Firestone Fieldhouse.

The UCLA women’s basketball team (8-5, 3-1 in the Pacific 10 Conference) plays at Stanford (12-3, 3-1) tonight at 7:30 with sole possession of second place in the conference on the line.

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“We never need any extra incentive to play at Stanford,” said UCLA Coach Billie Moore, whose last victory at Palo Alto was the final game of the 1987-88 season.

On Saturday, UCLA plays California (9-3, 1-2) at 7:30 p.m. Golden Bear forward Kesha Martin, a 6-2 senior from University High, is second in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage (.594) and averages 15.5 a game. The other starting forward, Kim Robinson, a 5-9 junior from St. Bernard, is returning to the lineup after missing two games because of a shoulder injury. She averages 6.4 points and 2.9 rebounds.

“Cal has been in and out of the rankings all season,” Moore said. “Around February, when all the dust has settled, they’ll be at the top.

“Not many teams can go to the Bay area for the weekend and be successful. It’s always tough. If we can do well, it will be a real boost for our program.”

After the first week of league play, the Pepperdine women’s basketball team is leading the West Coast Conference, thanks to some outstanding shooting.

The Waves lead the league in scoring with a 76.5 average and a .471 shooting percentage.

In weekend wins over Gonzaga and Portland, the Waves (8-7, 2-0) averaged 92 points. Freshman center Tabitha Bailey, junior forward Nikki Brodowy, senior forward Kelsey Kline and senior center Barbara Tanner combined for 120 points and 34 rebounds. The four players shot 70.6% from the field.

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“To say we were shooting well is an understatement,” Coach Ron Fortner said. “Aimee McDaniel did a great job at creating plays and distributing the ball.”

Pepperdine plays at San Francisco on Friday and St. Mary’s on Saturday.

Notes

The UCLA women’s basketball team lost, 71-67, to Oregon State on Saturday, ending the Bruins’ seven-game win streak. It was UCLA’s longest win streak since the 1984-85 season. . . . The Bruin women lead the Pac-10 in rebound margin with a 6.1 differential. “Rebounding is something we stress a lot as a team,” Coach Billie Moore said. “But it helps to have someone like Natalie Williams.” Williams is averaging 15.1 a game.

After Friday’s UCLA-Cal State Long Beach Kilgour Cup volleyball match, there will be a reception for Kirk Kilgour at the Morgan Center.

Pepperdine freshman guard Sara Pierce had arthroscopic knee surgery last week and will miss the remainder of the season. She appeared in 4 games and averaged 2.3 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists.

On Friday, the UCLA men’s gymnastics team will be at UC Santa Barbara. The women will compete on Friday at Oregon State, meeting the defending Pacific 10 Conference champion Beavers, and on Monday will be at Boise State. In the women’s meet win over Washington last week, sophomore Kareema Marrow tied her Wooden Center record in the floor exercise with a mark of 9.90. In the uneven bars, both Marrow and junior Denise Scott established personal records with scores of 9.7.

The UCLA men’s swimming team will be in the Dallas Morning News Invitational this Friday and Saturday.

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The No. 5 UCLA women’s tennis team will compete in the Pacific 10 Indoor Tournament in Seattle this weekend. Senior Cammie Foley, who won the Rolex Western Regional title in November, has a 6-0 record in singles this season.

On Tuesday, the No. 9 Pepperdine women’s tennis team will host UC Irvine at 1:30 p.m.

The No. 5 UCLA men’s tennis team will host New Mexico on Friday and Nevada Las Vegas on Saturday. Both matches will be held at the Sunset Canyon Courts at 1:30 p.m.

Several members of the No. 4 Pepperdine men’s tennis team will compete at the Adidas Invitational at Indian Wells through this weekend. The men will host New Mexico on Monday at 1:30 p.m.

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