LOS -- Despite career-high performances from Mike Wall and Brad Goldston, the third-ranked BYU men's volleyball team dropped a 3-1 decision at UCLA on Wednesday, 10-15, 10-15, 15-12, 14-16. Wall led the Cougars with 42 kills, while Goldston picked up 28 digs in the Cougar loss. BYU drops to 13-4, 10-4 on the season, while the Bruins improve 14-3, 8-3 and tighten the gap for second place in the MPSF Mountain Division and the opportunity to host a crucial first-round match in the MPSF Tournament.
After falling in games one and two, 10-15, 10-15, the Cougars rallied behind Wall and Goldston, in addition to the well-balanced effort of Scott Bunker and Matt Olsen, to snag game four, 15-12. It seemed as if the Cougars would pick up a game-four win and force a fifth and deciding game, but the Bruins rallied behind three-time All-American Brandon Taliaferro to battle past BYU, 16-14. With UCLA serving for match point at 14-13, Wall picked up his 42nd kill of the night to sideout for the Cougars. BYU forced a UCLA hitting error, tieing the score at 14-14. UCLA picked up the sideout and went on to score two straight points, including a controversial call that was overturned for the Bruins' 15th point of the game.
Bunker recorded a double-double performance on the night, picking up 14 kills and 14 blocks. Joaquin Acosta also doubled up on the night, posting 16 kills and 10 digs. Casey Jennings added 18 kills, while Matt Olsen collected 16 kills. Setter Chris Pitzak recorded 91 assists and moved to within 100 assists of taking over second place on the BYU career assist list.
The loss marks the Cougars' fourth road loss of the season and snaps a season-high six match win streak, while the Bruins have won five of their last six matches, including three straight.
The Cougars will wrap up the two-match series with the Bruins on Thursday at Pauley Pavilion, before another two-match series at UC Irvine on Friday and Saturday. Thursday's match against UCLA will begin at 7 p.m. (PST).