George Mason's men's volleyball team, which had to endure a three-game loss to top-ranked Penn State last week, doesn't get it any easier tonight when it plays second-ranked UCLA at the Physical Education Building at 7:30.
More than 600 tickets already have been sold for the game, not including student walkup sales. The last time the teams played at George Mason, in 1986, a sellout crowd in excess of 1,800 saw the Bruins beat Mason in four games.
"UCLA has more all-Americas on the bench than I could ever dream of," said George Mason Coach Wayne Stalick, a chemistry professor. "They are the premier program in the country."
This season, UCLA (15-1), the defending national champion, has only lost to Manitoba, a Canadian team. But the game was an exhibition and does not count on its NCAA record. UCLA already has beaten Long Beach State and San Diego State, perennial volleyball powers.
Sophomore quick hitter Trevor Schirmann (15 kills this season) was a preseason all-America for the Bruins, who have won 12 national titles in 17 years under Coach Allen Scates.
George Mason (8-2), ranked 10th nationally, lost to ninth-ranked Ball State in a 2-hour, five-game match last week at the Nittany Lion Invitational tournament. The Patriots feature Uvaldo Acosta, a preseason all-America at outside hitter who led the team in kills last season.
"I have a young group of guys this year," Stalick said, "but the only way to get them in condition toward a level of play they should be exhibiting is to play teams like UCLA. It should be good for the fans and the team."
The Patriots reached the Eastern Championships last season, losing to Penn State.