No. 5 BYU falls in four at No. 6 UC Irvine
IRVINE, Calif. – Despite double-digit kills from four players, No. 5 BYU men’s volleyball fell at No. 6 UC Irvine in four sets (25-22, 25-23, 20-25, 25-21) Friday night at the Bren Events Center.
“I thought we competed well for the most part tonight against a great opponent,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “We have some things defensively that we'll need to shore up tomorrow if we want to split the series.”
Gabi Garcia Fernandez put up a team-high 17 kills in the match. Leo Durkin set the team with 47 assists and eight digs while Storm Fa’agata-Tufuga collected a career-high nine digs and 10 kills. Price Jarman had four blocks to go with a career-high tying 10 kills on a .625 clip and Brenden Sander contributed 13 kills.
UC Irvine (8-1) took an early 6-3 lead in the first set against BYU (5-2), but kills by Fa’agata-Tufuga and Fernandez kept the Cougars within two, trailing 7-5. The Anteaters then went on a 4-0 run to extend their advantage to six, 11-5. Two Fernandez kills helped push BYU on a 4-1 rally to counter, getting his team back within three, down 12-9. A Fa’agata-Tufuga kill brought the Cougars within two at 15-13, but UC Irvine scored the next three points, forcing a BYU timeout at 18-13. The Cougars rallied back within two once again, down 21-19, but the Anteaters scored the next three points to bring up set point. BYU scored three more points from there, but the rally proved too late as UC Irvine took the set 25-22.
Back-to-back Anteater service aces put UC Irvine up 4-2 to start the second set. The Cougars scored six points from Anteater service errors before a Sander kill evened things up at 9-9. Service errors continued to plague both sides as the teams stayed within two points of each other until a Fernandez and Miki Jauhiainen block knotted up the score at 18-all. A Jarman kill pushed BYU ahead 21-20, but UC Irvine scored the next three points to go up 23-21. The Anteaters stayed ahead from there, winning another close set 25-23.
The Cougars jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third set, but UC Irvine capitalized off of BYU errors to tie the set at 4-4. The teams stayed neck-and-neck as a Fa’agata-Tufuga kill made it 8-8. Two Jarman kills pushed BYU on a 3-0 run to increase its lead at 11-9, but the Anteaters worked their way back to a 12-all tie after three kills from Karl Apfelbach. A UC Irvine attack error extended the Cougars’ lead to three, 20-17, and a Jauhiainen and Fa’agata-Tufuga block made it 23-19. Two final kills from Sander gave BYU the set 25-20.
A Sander kill put the Cougars ahead 3-1 at the beginning of the fourth set. BYU stayed ahead 8-6 after a Jarman kill, but the Anteaters used a 5-0 run to take a 15-11 advantage. The Cougars got back within four on multiple occasions before consecutive Sander aces brought BYU within one, down 22-21. UC Irvine proved too much down the stretch, though, topping the Cougars 25-21 in the fourth and final set.
BYU will face the Anteaters at the Bren Events Center in a rematch Saturday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m. PST. The match will be streamed by the Big West. Links to the stream and live stats can be found on the BYU men’s volleyball schedule page.
No. 5 BYU travels to No. 6 UC Irvine for two
PROVO, Utah – No. 5 BYU men’s volleyball heads to California for the first time this season, facing No. 6 UC Irvine in a pair of matches on Friday and Saturday.
No. 6 UC Irvine
- The Cougars (5-1) will face the Anteaters (6-1) Friday, Jan. 26, and Saturday, Jan. 27, at the Bren Events Center. Both matches begin at 7 p.m. PST.
- BYU is 47-17 all-time in the series history against former conference foe UC Irvine.
- The two teams split the two meetings last season in Provo, with the Anteaters winning in five sets the first night and the Cougars sweeping the following evening.
- UC Irvine and BYU have played two common opponents so far, as the Anteaters came to the Smith Fieldhouse to start the season, facing Lewis and Loyola-Chicago. UC Irvine won each of those matches.
- The Anteaters travel to face Concordia Irvine on Wednesday before the two matches with the Cougars.
Both matches this week will be streamed on the Big West streaming network. Live stats can also be found on the BYU men’s volleyball schedule page.