Cougar volleyball loses to Pepperdine in 5 sets

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Ari Davis
Phil Fuchs spikes the ball in the last home game against Ball State University. Fuchs had 11 kills in the team’s loss to Pepperdine. (Ari Davis)

BYU men’s volleyball narrowly lost to Pepperdine University in five sets (25-23, 24-26, 27-25, 13-25, 13-15) Friday night. The match was the first of the teams’ double header at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, California.

“It’s tough to be on the losing side of such a close five-set match,” BYU head coach Chris McGown said. “They just made a few more of the little plays down the stretch, and ultimately that’s what ended up being the difference tonight.”

Jake Langlois led BYU’s offense with 18 kills, while Phil Fuchs and Carson Heninger contributed 11 and 10 respectively. The Cougars out-blocked the Waves, but it wasn’t enough to stop Pepperdine’s success.

Neither the Cougars nor the Waves gave up a significant lead in set one, and the teams stayed within two points of each other the entire time. Pepperdine eventually led 19-17, but five kills each from Fuchs and Langlois helped BYU come back and win 25-23.

Competition remained tight in sets two and three. Each time, the Cougars took a 14-10 lead, but in set two the Waves caught up and tied the score 21-21. The teams battled until Pepperdine reached set point 25-24. A miscommunication between BYU players allowed the ball to drop, and Pepperdine won the set 26-24.

BYU led in the third set until the Waves tied the game again at 17-17. Pepperdine got ahead slightly, but BYU pushed the tie through to 25-25. Heninger’s four kills in the set aided BYU’s comeback, and the Cougars won 27-25.

The Cougars fell apart in set four, digging themselves into an 11-4 deficit. Pepperdine never let BYU come back, and the Waves tied the match again with a 25-13 win.

BYU again earned a lead at the start of set five but lost it just like in set two. A 13-13 tie gave either team the chance to win, but Pepperdine capitalized on it and won the whole match with a 15-13 finish.

The Cougars will face the Waves again tomorrow night before returning to Provo to compete against UC Irvine on March 27 and 28.

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