LOS -- After losing to No. 2 UCLA on Thursday, the No. 4 BYU men's volleyball team set numerous rally scoring school records, in defeating the Bruins in five closely contested games (28-30, 30-28, 31-29, 31-33, 15-12) on Saturday at Pauley Pavilion. The Cougars split their league series with the Bruins, and improve their record to 11-3 overall with a 9-3 mark in the MPSF, while the loss drops UCLA to 14-3, 9-2.
Although the score indicates a close match, BYU's 24 service errors to UCLA's 12, kept the match close, in what was otherwise dominated by five Cougars who compiled double-digit kills. After struggling on Thursday night, All-American Mike Wall paced the Cougar attack as he set BYU record's with 31 kills and 57 attempts (.404).
Junior Rafael Paal set a BYU record in hitting .714 (11 kills with one hitting error in 14 attempts), to go with nine digs and four blocks. Joaquin Acosta (17-11-41), Chris Gorny (13-4-21-.429) and Luka Slabe (11-7-33) were the other Cougars with double-digit kills.
Freshman setter Carlos Moreno continues to excel. He contributed a double-double, with a career-high 74 assists and 13 digs. Moreno fell one assist short of tying the assists record set by former BYU All-American and current Cougars assistant coach Hector Lebron. Libero Fernando Pessoa broke his own digs record with 16.
In game one, BYU committed nine service errors in handing UCLA the 1-0 lead. BYU was again down in the second game, 28-27, but the Cougars scored three consecutive points, sealed with a kill by Acosta, to tie the match at one.
In the crucial third game, BYU was up 28-24, before UCLA fought back to tie the game at 28. The Cougars clawed to a 30-29 lead, when Paal put down a backrow kill to put BYU ahead.
Game four typifyed the match as the Cougars and Bruins took turns taking the lead, but several hitting errors and a service error gave UCLA the edge.
With the match tied 2-2, BYU, which has not lost a five-game match this year, capitalized on Bruin miscues to take a 9-6 lead in the fifth game, before winning the match.
For the match, BYU outhit UCLA .324 (89-31-179) to .250 (68-28-160). The 89 kills and 179 attempts as well as 50 digs and 85 assists on the match all set BYU team records. UCLA had two players with double-digit kills, and were led by Cameron Mount and Matt Komer, who had 18 kills each.
The Cougars remain in fourth place in the MPSF standings behind Hawaii, UCLA and Pepperdine.
BYU will return to Provo, and will prepare to host No. 1 Pepperdine, Mar. 1-2, in the Smith Fieldhouse. Both matches are scheduled to start at 7 p.m. (MST).