BYU splits a pair of matches with reining National Champions


BYU splits a pair of matches with reining National Champions

No. 8 BYU vs. No. 4 UCLA

The Cougars had lost four of the last six home matches. UCLA had won five in a row vs. BYU.

MATCH 1 (3-2)

In set one, Tyler Herget opened up the match for the Cougars with an ace.

Set one would feature bonus volleyball where BYU would eventually win 31-29. The set ended the same way it opened up, an ace from Kupono Browne. 

There were 24 ties and eight lead changes, neither team had a lead larger than three. BYU hit .424 to UCLA at .500. The Bruins had 19 kills and six service errors whereas the Cougars had 17 kills and seven service errors. Despite all these stats, the pressure BYU put on UCLA helped them win the set. 

The Bruins would take set two 25-23. There were 16 ties and three lead changes in the second set. UCLA was plus four in blocks. 

UCLA would continue playing well and win set three 25-18 putting BYU on the ropes. Zach Rama set his new career high with 13 kills after set three. He would finish the match with 21 kills and hit .563 with seven digs and three blocks.

BYU fell down 13-10 early in set four but would fight hard and win the set 25-21. Browne finished the set with back-to-back aces for the Cougars to complete a 4-0 run.. Again, the Bruins hit .500 but lost the set. 

The Cougars fell down 4-1 and 8-4 but then tied the fifth set at 8-8 and ultimately win 15-12. The set was finished on an 11-4 run from BYU. 

UCLA hit .491 in the match and led in nearly every stat category but the Cougars recorded a season-high 11 aces. The last time an opponent had double-digit aces against UCLA was in 2021.

The Bruins even had four different players with double-digit kills. The match had 64 ties and 16 lead changes. 

“This is everything I dreamed of growing up,” Browne said on BYUtv after the game. 

Browne finished with 12 kills, a .182 hitting percentage, four aces and six digs. Browne ended the final set with back-to-back aces.

BYU snapped UCLA’s 21-match conference win streak. 

Match 2 (2-3)

In set one, UCLA would jump out to a 13-7 lead and win the first set 25-21. The Bruins outhit BYU .381 to .367 and recorded three aces. 

UCLA hit -.059 in set two but still had an 8-0 lead. The set would feature an 8-0 scoring run from the Cougars and Luke Benson recorded seven kills and hit .263. The Cougars would take the set 25-21. 

BYU won set three 25-19 to take a 2-1 match lead. UCLA would force a fifth set by hitting .652.

The Bruins would win the final set 15-10, forcing a split for two matches. UCLA will own any tiebreaker against BYU since they won the fifth set by more points (five) than BYU did (three).

Ethan Champlin recorded 14 kills and hit .650 in the second match. UCLA would also record eight aces after just three in the first match. 

For the second match, there were 5,024 people in attendance, a season-high for Smith Fieldhouse. 

In both matches, the losing team would lead two sets to one and lose the final two sets. 

The all-time series between UCLA and BYU is now 39-37 with BYU 25-13 in Provo. The Cougars are now ranked as the No. 6 team in the AVCA Coaches Poll.

Looking forward, the Cougars travel to play Stanford Mar. 8-9.

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