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Katherine Carling | Posted: 14 Mar 2019 | Updated: 24 Dec 2020
Katherine Carling

No. 9 BYU comes back to claim five-set victory over No. 4 UCLA


PROVO, Utah – No. 9 BYU men's volleyball made its largest comeback of the season, winning sets three, four and five to stun No. 4 UCLA at the Smith Fieldhouse on Thursday (30-32, 21-25, 25-20, 25-16, 17-15).

After being down two sets to none, the Cougars came back and took the Bruins to set five. Mirroring the previous sets, BYU and UCLA remained close at the start of the set with the set tied at 4-all. Despite a brief lead from the Bruins, the Cougars came back to tie it up 8-8 off a UCLA service error. Continuing point for point, BYU and UCLA reached a 13-13 tie. Back-to-back kills by Gardini gave set five and the match to the Cougars,17-15.

BYU vs. UCLA Box Score

"I hope the guys see their improvement. It’s slow and steady, but we’re improving," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "To be able to battle when you’re down and your backs are against the wall down 2-0, that’s big time. They did a really good job, so hopefully it gives them some momentum and belief that these things can happen."

Davide Gardini led all players with 20 kills in the match and also added two aces for BYU. Gabi Garcia Fernandez and Andrew Lincoln also claimed double-digit kills with 13 and 11 respectively, a new career high for Lincoln. Freshman setter Brody Earnest made his first home appearance at BYU and dished out 31 assists for the Cougars. Taylor Richards and Gardini both had nine digs in the match.

The Cougars and Bruins battled point for point in the first set to remain tied 10. After a 3-0 UCLA run, BYU trailed the Bruins, but kills from Lincoln and Gardini kept the Cougars within two points, 21-19. BYU fought back and tied it up at 23 on a block by Jauhiainen and Cyrus Fa’alogo. Despite battling back and forth for the next 16 points, the Bruins took set one, 32-30.

Earnest took the court for the first time at home during set two for the injured Fa’alogo, and assisted de Brito Ferreira in a kill to bring the score to 3-3. With players on both teams making big plays, the Cougars and Bruins remained tied at 14. A kill from Garcia kept BYU close behind UCLA at 21-19, but an ace by the Bruins gave them set two, 25-21.

Starting set three much like sets one and two, BYU and UCLA were even at 5-5. The Bruins took a 6-1 run to put them up, 13-7, but the Cougars answered back with a 5-1 run, including the first Cougar ace by Gardini. A Lincoln kill tied set three up at 15 and BYU took the lead,16-15 off a UCLA attack error. The Cougars continued their run and took set three 25-20 off a kill by Gardini.

Even performances from both teams kept them battling at the start of set four, but BYU took the lead, 10-8 off a Bruin attack error.  The Cougars went on a 7-1 run, with kills from Garcia Fernandez and Gardini, giving them a 14-9 lead. Keeping the momentum, the Cougars went on a 6-0 run to increase their lead to 21-11. Despite the Bruins’ best efforts to come back, BYU won the fourth set, 25-16 off a UCLA serving error.

BYU faces No. 6 Pepperdine at home in the Smith Fieldhouse on Saturday at 7 p.m. MDT. The match will be broadcast live by BYUtv and live stats can be found on the schedule page.

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Caleb Turner | Posted: 13 Mar 2019 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020
Caleb Turner

No. 9 BYU resumes MPSF play


PROVO, Utah — No. 9 BYU resumes MPSF play this week with matches against No. 4 UCLA on Thursday and No. 6 Pepperdine on Saturday at home in the Smith Fieldhouse.

Week 10 Match Notes

No. 9 BYU (9-6, 3-2 MPSF)

  • The Cougars rose in the rankings to No. 9 after a four-set victory over No. 3 UC Irvine last Thursday in the Smith Fieldhouse, followed by a close loss the following day.

  • BYU recorded 12 blocks in the win over UCI, marking the second time this season the Cougars have totaled 12 or more blocks in a match. BYU leads the MPSF in blocks per set with 2.49 and junior middle blocker Miki Jauhiainen leads the conference individually with 1.24 blocks per set after he had nine against UCI. Nationally, the Cougars rank No. 5 in blocks and Jauhiainen ranks No. 7.

  • Gabi Garcia Fernandez and Davide Gardini continue to lead the Cougars on offense, both totaling more than 20 kills each in the win over UCI. Garcia Fernandez leads the MPSF and is second in the nation in kills per set with a 4.41 average.

  • Felipe de Brito Ferreira was the bright spot in the Saturday’s loss for the Cougars, going off for two career highs with 12 kills and a .857 hitting percentage, giving him the best hitting percentage at BYU (minimum 12 kills) since 2006 when Yosleyder Cala had an identical hitting line of 12-0-14. De Brito Ferreira is now tied for the second-best hitting percentage on a 12-kill minimum in BYU history.

  • BYU remains in a tie for third place in the MPSF with Stanford at 4-3. Both teams are undefeated at home in conference play but have also yet to win a match on the road.

No. 4 UCLA (16-4, 6-0 MPSF)

  • The Bruins arrive in Provo on a six-game win streak, including sweeps over Ohio State and Penn State last week. They sit atop the MPSF with perfect 6-0 record.

  • The Cougars have a narrow lead in the all-time series, 35-34, but have already dropped a match to the Bruins this season in a four-set loss in Los Angeles.

  • Junior middle blocker Daenan Gyimah leads the MPSF in hitting percentage at .527, while senior setter Micah Ma’a leads the conference in service aces with .57 per set and ranks second in assists with 10.31 per set.

  • The UCLA offense ranks second in the MPSF in kills with 13 per set on a conference-leading .338 hitting percentage. The Bruins average just 1.9 blocks per set, however, compared to a 2.5 average for the staunch Cougar defense.

No. 6 Pepperdine (14-5, 4-2 MPSF)

  • The Waves participated in the Outrigger Invitational in Hawai’i last week, where they swept Ball State and King before falling to No. 2 Hawai’i. The currently sit in second in the MPSF with a 4-2 conference record.

  • Pepperdine leads the all-time series, 33-31, including a sweep over the Cougars last month in Malibu to open conference play. BYU won the previous four matchups.

  • Last time Pepperdine played BYU, the Waves had 13 service aces, and currently have two players in the top five in the conference in aces per set. David Wieczorek sits in second with a .48 average while Michael Wexter ranks fourth with a .35 average.

  • The Waves lead the MPSF in assists, kills and digs, but the Cougars have a 2.5-1.8 advantage in blocks per set and hold opponents to a .264 hitting percentage, compared to .294 for the Waves.

Both matches will be broadcast live on BYUtv and live stats can be found on the schedule page.