The No 3. BYU men’s volleyball team lost to No. 5 UC Santa Barbara 3-1 (21-25, 25-15, 25-22, 28-26).
“It was another match where we struggled offensively,” said BYU head coach Chris McGown. “It’s something we’ve got to get sorted out in the near future, or it’s going to be tough for us.”
BYU took its third loss in a row, something that hasn’t happened since 2011.
Senior Taylor Sander led his team with 15 kills and eight digs. Senior Devin Young led with a career high of five service aces, and junior Josue Rivera contributed 10 kills and six blocks, which is a season high for him. Sophomore Tyler Heap put up 37 assists.
In the beginning of the first set BYU fell behind by seven points, but a kill by Heap put the team on a 9-1 run, bringing it up to 16-14. A few kills of Rivera increased BYU’s lead to 18-15. BYU maintained its lead to close the set. With two kills by Sander the set finished at 25-21.
The second set started in UCSB’s advantage once again. A 7-1 run for UCSB put the score at 12-5. BYU squeezed in a point to stop the run, but momentum didn’t change. UCSB took another 7-1 run late in the set, bringing the score to 25-15, a win for UCSB and an overall score of 1-1.
The third set had momentum still on UCSB’s side, getting a lead of 8-4, but BYU picked it up and brought the score to a tie at 10-10. UCSB took the advantage again until BYU tied the score again at 15. Both teams tied eight more times until UCSB took the lead with a UCSB kill and a BYU attack error. Finally, a UCSB kill closed the set at 25-22.
“I really like the way we hung in there,” McGown said. “We actually had a bunch of chances in the third set and in the fourth set to take it to a fifth. We just didn’t execute the swings we needed to; then down the road we made some unforced errors that aren’t terribly characteristic of our team.”
The fourth set both teams fought evenly, tying the score at 14, but UCSB soon took three kills and an ace, taking an 18-15 lead. BYU fought to close the lead, bringing the score to 20-19. Both teams tied again at 23 and 24. BYU took the advantage at 26-25, but a kill by UCSB and two attack errors by BYU closed the set at 28-16 and UCSB took the match 3-1.
“We’re just looking to get it back together for tomorrow night,” McGown said. “UCLA’s going to be great. We’re playing another team on another senior night, so they have all of this emotion going for them. It will be another test for us.”
Today BYU plays No. 10 UCLA at 7 p.m. on the road. This match marks the last of the regular season for BYU and in order to win the 2014 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Title with sole ownership, the team must walk away with a win tonight.