The No. 2 BYU men’s volleyball team took its fourth loss in a row against No. 10 UCLA. UCLA won 3-1 concluding BYU’s regular season (25-23, 23-25, 25-13, 25-20).
“It was again a tough night,” said BYU head coach Chris McGown. “They served the ball really well, as well as I’ve seen a team serve all year. We just weren’t quite prepared in serve receiving. They got some really strange bounces and had a couple of guys with career nights. And Tyler Heap going down with a sprained ankle was tough for us, too. I thought we had some momentum going, and they just caught fire serving and that was that.”
Junior Josue Rivera took the lead this match with 12 kills followed by senior Taylor Sander who contributed 11 kills, four aces and seven digs. With Heap out with a sprained ankle, sophomore Robbie Sutton filled in with a career-high of 26 assists.
The first set BYU came out with a 5-0 run taking a 6-2 lead. UCLA came back to tie the score 6-6. UCLA began to take the lead at 9-6, but BYU came back to tie the game at 10-10. Both teams continued to play neck and neck until they tied at 23-23. With a BYU service error and a UCLA kill, the first set wrapped up at 25-23 for UCLA.
The second set started again in BYU’s favor, pulling ahead to a 6-2 lead. BYU continued to lead until UCLA finally caught up, tying the score at 14-14. With multiple kills by Sander and a service ace, BYU took a 21-18 lead. BYU kept its lead all the way to game point at 24-20. UCLA scored three more points, but senior Devin Young secured the set with a kill, closing the set at 25-23, 1-1.
The third set BYU fell far behind UCLA at 12-3, and UCLA’s lead increased at 16-6. UCLA maintained its lead and took an easy set at 25-13 leading 2-1.
In the fourth set BYU and UCLA tied at 6-6. BYU took a 9-7 lead, but UCLA powered forward with a 4-0 run taking the lead. UCLA continued to lead throughout the set and took the set at 25-20, winning the match 3-1.
BYU will be back on its home court in the Smith Fieldhouse for the quarterfinal match for the MPSF tournament this Saturday, competing against No. 8 USC. BYU will be the No. 1 seed in the tournament.
“We’re certainly fired up to be back in the Fieldhouse,” McGown said. “It’s been really tough being on the road, so we’re going to catch up with some rest this week and try to be great for this weekend.”
BYU tied with Pepperdine for the conference title in regular-season play. This is BYU’s second consecutive win of the regular-season title.