BYU men’s volleyball earns redemption against UCI

BYU men’s volleyball won a high-energy duel against UC Irvine in a five-set match Friday night.

A desire for vengeance was on the minds of the BYU players after taking their first loss of the season against no. 6 UCI the previous Wednesday in a humbling 3 sets.

BYU started set one with unrestrained motivation and quickly took the lead. Sophomore Miks Ramanis had a kill that shook the building to put the Cougars up 9 to 4 early on. However, the previously victorious Irvine refused to go down without a fight. By the time Ramanis and middle blocker Gavin Julien co-blocked to gain BYU’s 20th point, UCI was only behind by 2 points.

The outcome of the first set remained unclear until setter Heath Hughes gained BYU momentum with a kill-dump and ace. Ramanis scored another ace for the Cougars to make the score 25 to 24, and the team ended the first set 26 to 24 after freshman Trent Moser had an impressive kill.

UC Irvine certainly reminded BYU the match would not be a runaway during the second set. The Anteaters quickly humbled the Cougars with a 6-2 lead, and the two teams continued to play cat and mouse throughout the set. BYU gained small bursts of momentum thanks to the four blocks sprinkled throughout the set, such as the triple block that would bring the score 14 to 16, Irvine in the lead.

Despite impressive playing from BYU as a whole, they could not catch the Anteaters who stretched the gap 23 to 18. Irvine took their first set of the night with a score of 25 to 21.

The Cougars came back with heat in the third set to quickly gain a 5-point lead on the Anteaters. Two of these points came from birthday boy Teon Taylor’s back-to-back blocks, as well as three kills from his teammates.

Set three had UC Irvine take both of their timeouts and BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead call for one of his own during the teeth-gritting set. UC Irvine would give the third set to BYU with a service error, ending the score 25 to 22.

Those in attendance at Bren Events Center may have thought the match would end in four sets after BYU came out strong in the beginning of the fourth. Taylor, Ramanis, and Cherfan each contributed to the early lead with blocks that shut down Irvine’s offense. However, the 6-2 run quickly became a set tied at 11 after Irvine climbed back and kept the momentum. Irvine continued their climb to take the set 25 to 19, taking both teams into a determining fifth set.

Ramanis lead BYU’s explosive plays in the beginning of the fifth set with consecutive kills on the Anteaters. UCI’s head coach David Kniffin called a time-out when the scoreboard hit 6-2, but it would not ice out the Cougars that drove up the score to 11 to 6.

Despite the back-and-forth in leads between the two teams in the prior four sets, the final set of the night became a runaway for BYU ending with another kill from Moser to end the match 15 to 9.

The adrenaline was high as no. 12 ranked BYU took their fifth win of the season, and so were their stats. Ramanis hit a .324 with 20 kills, resulting in a season-high for the outside hitter. Moser was another notable all-star of the night with 16 kills out of his 40 attempts. Taylor had 15 of BYU’s 22 blocks of the night, a new career high. Senior Heath Hughes also grabbed a season-high with 47 assists, only 7 below BYU’s overall record of 54 recorded assists in a match.

BYU will need to hold onto the passion of this win as they remain on the road this week to play the Ball State Cardinals on their home court in Muncie, Indiana. The first game will be on Thursday, Feb. 2.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Top Sports Stories

Mitchell Worthington: BYU’s dig machine

Mitchell Worthington: BYU's dig machineWhen Mitchell Worthington arrived at BYU in 2017, reaching 500 career digs wasn’t even on his radar.“It probably should have...

Dives and diversity: Gavin Julien creates impact on and off the court

Dives and diversity: Gavin Julien creates impact on and off the courtDiversity. Inclusivity. Perspective. Acceptance.To those not raised in the predominant religion at BYU,...

BYU high jumper Cierra Tidwell-Allphin continues to raise the bar on the road to nationals

BYU high jumper Cierra Tidwell-Allphin continues to raise the bar on the road to nationalsAt 1:37 p.m. on Feb. 25, a burst of cheers...

BYU Men’s Volleyball prepares for pesky Pepperdine

BYU Men's Volleyball prepares for pesky PepperdineThe No. 8 Cougars will take on the No. 7 Waves on Friday and Saturday night in the...
- Advertisement -
Print Friendly, PDF & Email