No. 11 BYU can't hold on in 3-2 loss to No. 14 UC San Diego
PROVO, Utah — No. 11 BYU fell to No. 14 UC San Diego in a five-set thriller (27-25, 25-23, 18-25, 29-31, 11-15) in the Smith Fieldhouse on Friday. The reverse sweep brings BYU’s season record to 5-4 and marks the first time in 29 seasons of competition and 45 all-time meetings that UCSD defeated BYU. The Cougars now lead the all-time series 44-1.
“I think that there's something this team has to deal with: the fact that when we get in the lead, we struggle,” said BYU outside hitter Davide Gardini. “We’ve got to learn how to deal with being in the lead. When we’re playing well, we’ve just got to keep playing well.”
Friday’s game saw another new starting lineup for the Cougars, the seventh combination in the season’s nine games. BYU started Gardini, sophomore outside hitter Kupono Brown, freshman outside hitter Miks Ramanis, sophomore middle blocker Gavin Julien, sophomore setter Bartosz Sławiński and senior middle blocker Branden Oberender for its matchup against the Tritons.
BYU recorded a .231 hitting percentage in the match, compared with UC San Diego's .348 hitting percentage. Gardini led the Cougars with 23 kills on the night. Additionally, he had three aces.
Behind Gardini, UCSD's Kyle McCauley laid down 20 kills on a .289 clip. McCauley ranks No. 2 in the NCAA in attacks per set (9.92), No. 4 in points per set (5.15) and No. 4 in kills per set (4.46)
The teams remained tight throughout the set, featuring 15 ties and five lead changes.
A quick kill from Browne gave BYU the first point of the night. Battling back, the Tritons slammed down two kills to take the lead. Kills by Browne and Ramanis allowed the Cougars pull ahead at 6-5. The opponents traded errors until a block by Browne and Oberender gave BYU a slight edge at 9-8.
Two Triton errors and kills by birthday boy Gardini and Ramanis put the Cougars on a 4-0 run, widening the gap to 14-10. However, UCSD followed up with two kills of its own, paired with three BYU errors. This diminished BYU's lead, tying the set at 15-15.
Minutes later, back-to-back kills by Gardini put BYU up 19-17. The teams traded points until a final Ramanis kill, a block by Oberender and Browne and a UCSD error sealed the Cougars a set-one win at 27-25.
The second set started with more errors by both teams. UCSD held a lead until a solid block by Gardini, Oberender and Browne tied the score at 5-5. The Tritons managed two points before putting up a service error. An ace by Oberender tied the score again at 7-7. A quick kill by Julien propelled BYU ahead 8-7, but UCSD answered with two points of their own. Gardini slammed down a kill to tie the set again at 9-9.
From there, the Tritons gained a brief lead, but the Cougars matched each of their points. Two UCSD errors later and the score tied 13-13. Trading kills and errors, the teams tied another seven times, reaching a stalemate at 22-22. USCD's McCauley added a kill, but Gardini swooped in and tallied three back-to-back-back kills. This earned BYU its second set-win at 25-23.
A kill by the Tritons gave UCSD the first point of the set. BYU answered back quickly with a kill by Gardini. Two BYU errors put San Diego up 3-1 before a kill by Browne brought the score to 3-2. The Tritons achieved a 4-0 scoring run, increasing their lead to 7-2. Kills by Ramanis and Browne aided in BYU’s attempt to catch up, but at 10-4, the Tritons held the largest lead of the set.
A block by Oberender and Browne followed by a Gardini kill allowed the Cougars to minimize the gap to just three points at 10-7. UCSD held onto its lead at 15-10, even after three combined kills by Gardini and Browne. Gardini added an ace to his stat line, but BYU was unable to rack up enough points before the Tritons reached set point at 24-18.
A final kill by UCSD's outside hitter Kyle McCauley completed a .500 hitting percentage for the Tritons in the set, securing the team's first set-win at 25-18.
The Cougars recovered quickly, leading 4-1 after two UC San Diego errors and an ace by Gardini. BYU errors and a UCSD kill allowed the Tritons to catch up, tying the score at 6-6. The teams traded errors until a kill from Gardini gave the Cougars a slight lead at 8-7. UC San Diego fought to keep the score close, matching kills by Julien, Gardini and senior opposite hitter Alex Ah Sue with points of their own, tying the score at 11-11.
From there, Gardini managed four kills, keeping BYU up at 17-16. A UC San Diego service error, followed with a block by Ramanis, Oberender and Sławiński increased BYU's lead to 19-17. UCSD was quick to respond, tying the score at 20-20 after two kills. Another kill and a BYU error gave the Tritons the lead at 23-22.
The teams traded kills and errors through the rest of the set, tying another six times. This included another two kills by Gardini. Ultimately, the Tritons held the Cougars to a .182 hitting percentage and took the set-win at 31-29. The Cougars were two points away from taking the set six times, but couldn't string consecutive scores together. The Tritons won the set on their sixth match point.
A San Diego kill gave the Tritons the first point of the set. BYU matched each of their points until a UCSD kill and block increased the Tritons' lead to 5-3.
UCSD continued putting down two points in a row, holding BYU to one at a time. UC San Diego’s lead continued to grow at 9-6. Even with kills by Oberender, Browne and Gardini, the Cougars were unable to catch up. A final UC San Diego kill gave the Tritons their third set-win in a row at 15-11, completing the reverse sweep and winning the match.
BYU will face UC San Diego again on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. MDT in the Smith Fieldhouse. The match will be available on BYUtv and on the BYUtv App.
No. 11 BYU hosts No. 14 UC San Diego in a two-match series
PROVO, Utah — This week, No. 11 BYU men’s volleyball remains in Provo to host No. 14 UC San Diego for a pair of matches, starting Friday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. MDT.
Dating back to 1993, the Cougars and Tritons have faced each other on 44 occasions. BYU has never lost a single match.
No. 11 Brigham Young University Cougars (5-3, 0-0 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation)
- Last weekend, BYU faced undefeated Ball State, who was coming off two huge wins against No. 1 Hawaii. The Cougars tallied a hard-fought 3-2 win on Friday, but fell to the Cardinals 3-1 on Saturday.
- BYU captain and preseason First Team All-American Davide Gardini went down with an ankle injury against University of Mount Olive two weeks ago. Gardini recovered and participated in both matches against Ball State.
- Freshman outside hitter Miks Ramanis led the way offensively last Friday, putting up 19 kills and a .361 hitting percentage. On Saturday, sophomore outside hitter Kupono Browne topped the leaderboard with 19 kills and a .441 hitting percentage.
- Nationally, BYU ranks No. 13 in assists per set (11.25), No. 15 in kills per set (12.00), No. 16 in blocks per set (2.172), No. 17 in hitting percentage (.281) and No. 19 in team attacks per set (26.59).
- Sophomore setter Zeo Meyer ranks No. 7 in the NCAA in assists per set (9.82).
- Sophomore middle blocker Gavin Julien ranks No. 19 in blocks per set (1.065).
- The Cougars finished the 2021 season with a 20-4 record, its eighth MPSF conference championship title, a trip to the NCAA national championship game and a No. 2 national ranking.
No. 14 University of California, San Diego Tritons (3-4, 0-0 Big West Conference)
- Last weekend, UC San Diego posted two losses, first against USC (3-0) and then to Concordia Irvine (3-1).
- Their wins this season came against Harvard, Stanford and Princeton.
- Coming into the 2022 season, the Tritons received a No. 3 pre-season ranking in the Big West Conference.
- Matt Palma ranks No. 1 in the NCAA in digs per set (2.86).
- Kyle McCauley ranks No. 2 in the NCAA in attacks per set (9.92), No. 4 in points per set (5.15) and No. 4 in kills per set (4.46).
- In the NCAA, UC San Diego ranks No. 1 in team attacks per set (29.39), No. 2 in digs per set (9.75), No. 6 in assists per set (11.86), No. 7 in kills per set (12.54) and No. 25 in hitting percentage (.265).
BROADCAST INFORMATION – Feb. 11
BROADCAST INFORMATION – Feb. 12
Consistent with current BYU requirements, all in attendance will need to provide proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test upon entry. Masks will also be required, regardless of vaccination status. Find more details at byu.edu/coronavirus.