LOS -- The No. 4 BYU men's volleyball surged to an early lead, only to wither and fall to No. 2 UCLA 1-3 (30-25, 29-31, 26-30, 23-30) on Thursday night at Pauley Pavilion. The Cougars fall to 10-3 overall and 8-3 in the MPSF, while the Bruins improve to 14-2, 9-1.
The Cougars seized momentum in the first game with a relentless, unpredictable attack. BYU out hit UCLA .514 to .476, and the Cougars had 35 attack attempts (23 kills) compared to the Bruins' 21 (11 kills). UCLA held a 19-21 advantage, but BYU's Joaquin Acosta and Luka Slabe had first game totals of seven and six kills to power the Cougars. With BYU leading 26-24, Slabe had a kill and Rafael Paal had an ace to put the Cougars up 28-24. Slabe ended the game with a kill through a UCLA triple block.
In the pivitol second game, BYU led by as many as four points, but untimely service and attacking errors proved to be the difference, as UCLA seized the momentum in the match. The Bruins adjusted to the BYU attack scheme, and stifled the Cougar offense. BYU struggled in the service game throughout the match, as the Cougars had 21 service errors to the Bruins' 12.
For the match, BYU was led by a double-double effort from Acosta who compiled match-high's with 20 kills and 12 digs while hitting .350 (40 attempts). Three other Cougars had double-digit kills. All-American Mike Wall, Rafael Paal and Slabe had 11 kills each. Paal hit .474 (11 for 19) to go with six digs, and Slabe hit .304 (11 for 23) with five digs and three blocks. The Bruins held Wall to a .086 attack percentage (11 for 35). Playing in his native California, Chris Gorny, hit a match-high .563 (9 for 16) with no attack errors and six blocks.
UCLA was led by Cameron Mount who hit .556 with 17 kills in 27 swings. The Bruins outhit the Cougars .346 (65 for 136) to .301 (69 for 153).
BYU will complete its extended February road trip with a rematch against UCLA on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 1 p.m. (PST), and the match will be broacast live on www.uclabruins.com. The Cougars will then return home to host No. 1 Pepperdine March 1-2.