No. 2 BYU men’s volleyball swept No. 7 UCLA (31-29, 25-12, 25-23) on Thursday, Feb. 6, at home to begin conference play.
Gabi Garcia Fernandez led the Cougars with 13 kills and 3 aces. Zach Eschenberg led with 5 digs, and Felipe de Brito Ferreira had 6 blocks. Wil Stanley contributed 33 assists.
“It’s our own little rivalry, you know,” Head Coach Shawn Olmstead said. “We don’t need to be yelling at them to get them pumped up, they’re ready to go in this match, and they’re excited for a match with the Bruins anytime.”
The Cougars remain undefeated this season with this game against UCLA bringing their record to 11-0.
“I feel like we’re always a good team to adapt,” Stanley said after BYU’s win. “We’re really good at seeing what they’re bringing and in the next set being able to adjust and change.”
BYU earned the first point of the match off of a kill by Davide Gardini, assisted by Wil Stanley. The Cougars maintained a lead until UCLA managed to tie the score at 11-11. The teams traded points until a service error from UCLA and a kill by Eschenberg returned the lead to BYU, bringing the score to 15-13. A block from UCLA tied the score again at 17-17. The teams traded points for the remainder of the set, until a kill from Garcia Fernandez and an attack error from UCLA finally earned BYU a 31-29 set win.
Back-to-back kills from Garcia Fernandez and a kill from Miki Jauhiainen gave BYU a 3-0 lead to begin set two. An ace from Garcia Fernandez brought the score to 7-3, and a kill by Gardini brought BYU’s lead up to 7 points and the score to 15-8. A block by Wil Stanley and de Brito Ferreira gave BYU a 10-point lead, making the score 20-10. The set ended with a kill from Garci Fernandez, earning the Cougars a 25-12 set win.
UCLA scored the first point of set three, and the teams traded points until BYU went on a five-point scoring run, which featured 2 aces from Garcia Fernandez and gave BYU an 8-5 lead. The teams continued trading points, but an ace from Eschenberg gave the Cougars a four-point lead and brought the score to 22-18. A kill by de Brito Ferreira finished the match and gave the Cougars a 25-23 win.
BYU finished the game with a hitting percentage of 37.3% compared to UCLA’s hitting percentage of 25.6%. The Cougars had 42 kills and 4 aces.
“I think we had a good game tonight and we’re ready to go against Pepperdine on Saturday,” Stanley said.
The Cougars will face No. 8 Pepperdine in the Smith Fieldhouse on Saturday, Feb. 8, before traveling to Phoenix, Arizona, to play Grand Canyon University on Feb. 14.