No. 1 BYU falls in road match to No. 3 UCLA

(Photo by Marcos Escalona/ BYU Photo)

LOS ANGELES – The No. 1 BYU men’s volleyball team dropped a three-set match to No. 3 UCLA (25-23, 25-19, 25-20) on the road Saturday.

The loss snapped a 12 match win streak dating back to Feb. 16. The Cougars, who have already clinched the MPSF regular season title, move to 20-4 overall and 19-3 in the MPSF. UCLA improves to 18-10 overall and 14-8 in conference.

Junior Taylor Sander and freshman Ben Patch led the Cougars with 10 kills apiece, along with adding a service ace each.

BYU hit a collective .316 attack while the Bruins tallied a .481 clip. UCLA recorded 50 kills to the Cougars’ 34.

BYU and UCLA battled back-and-forth during a closely matched first set. The set saw 12 tie scores and the largest margin was a two-point UCLA lead.  The Cougars matched the Bruins throughout but were unable to ever take the advantage. The last tie was at 17-17 before UCLA once again went up by two. Trailing 23-21, Patch recorded a kill to move BYU within one, but the Bruins bounced back up by two with a kill. The Cougars benefited from a service error, but UCLA went on to close out the set on the next point, 25-23. 

BYU took its first lead of the match at the start of the set two, 2-1. After BYU moved up 6-5 on a kill from Sander, the Bruins evened the set and never allowed the Cougars to regain the command. After a 4-0 UCLA run, the home team created a five-point cushion. Errors by the Bruins and a Patch ace closed the gap to 15-13. A pair of BYU service aces spurred a 5-0 run to move UCLA in front 24-17. The Bruins finished up the set, 25-19, on their third set point. 

UCLA took an early 10-6 lead in the third set and never looked back. BYU cut into the score 13-12 after a Bruins attack error, but UCLA rattled off three straight points. After a Sander kill the score moved to 20-17 in favor of the Bruins before UCLA extended its lead to five. A kill gave the Bruins match point, but a service error stalled the win. UCLA completed the upset with a kill for a 25-20 win in set three.   

The Cougars finish the regular season next week with matches against Pacific and Stanford in California.

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