BYU men’s volleyball prepares for No. 2 UCLA

Ben Patch strikes the ball against UC Irvine. Patch and the Cougars host No. 2 UCLA on Feb. 3-4. (Ryan Turner)
Ben Patch strikes the ball against UC Irvine. Patch and the Cougars host No. 2 UCLA on Feb. 3-4. (Ryan Turner)

Playing in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation means facing top 10 opponents every weekend on back-to-back nights. There are no easy games.

The same holds true this weekend for the Cougars.

After splitting games with No. 7 UC Irvine, the BYU men’s volleyball team has to move forward, learn from the weekend and prepare to meet No. 2 UCLA.

After a loss to No. 7 UC Irvine on Jan. 27, the Cougars bounced back to sweep the Anteaters the following night.

“We talked about it before the game that we wanted to have fun and give it all that we have,” said Ben Patch after Saturday night’s win. “Last night we were a little high strung.”

Outside hitter Jake Langlois had a very strong, consistent weekend. He finished with 29 kills on the weekend and an impressive .407 hitting clip.

“Leo was setting really well and he was running the offense,” Langlois said. “I feel like tonight was so much more relaxed and that’s why we did so much better.”

A Saturday night win calls for celebration and Sunday calls for rest, because when Monday morning hits it’s back to the task of preparing for the next game. There’s no time to relax because soon the No. 4 Cougars take on the UCLA Bruins.

“We play and then it’s on to the next one,” Patch said. “We’re really excited to host a really really good UCLA team. They have some big athletes and really high level volleyball players. It’s going to take a lot. It’s going to take us, the fans and the coaches in preparation. It starts literally right now. We’re really excited to get them in here.”

The Bruins are on a six game win streak, losing only one game on the season to No. 1 defending National Champions Ohio State.

The BYU-UCLA rivalry has always been a fight to tune in for. The Cougars and Bruins are tied 31-31 for wins since becoming opponents. Their last meeting was during the 2016 season and the Cougars won 3-1 in the Smith Fieldhouse.

“The guys are excited,” Olmstead said. “We’re going to be practicing everyday to get better and when Friday comes around the guys will be ready to compete.”

The Bears come to Provo for a double-header Feb. 3-4.

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