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Natalie Orr | Posted: 15 Apr 2022 | Updated: 2 May 2022
Natalie Orr

No. 1 UCLA drops BYU 3-1


PROVO, Utah — BYU men’s volleyball battled Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opponent and the No. 1 team in the country UCLA in the Smith Fieldhouse on Friday, suffering a 3-1 loss after winning the first set of the night (25-20, 23-25, 16-25, 18-25).

The loss puts BYU’s overall season record to 8-15 and 3-8 in the MPSF.

“We're a young team, so we get confused very easily, and we lose track of our game way too fast," said senior outside hitter Davide Gardini. "It's a young team and a tough season, but I think there are a lot of good things that came out of this game. If we can play like we played in the first set two more times tomorrow, we can beat these guys. I'm grateful to have been here for four years. I want to say goodbye to this place with a win. That's all I can ask.”

UCLA is now on a nine-match winning streak. The Bruins hit 51 kills and a .350 hitting percentage. The team ranks No. 1 in the NCAA in hitting percentage and No. 3 in kills per set. BYU racked up 38 kills and hit a .126 clip.

Offensively, UCLA’s freshman hitter Ido David put up 18 kills and a .680 clip. Gardini followed with 16 kills and a .278 hitting percentage.

BYU started off with a strong 8-3 lead after kills by four different Cougars and an ace by freshman outside hitter Miks Ramanis. UCLA tallied three points due to BYU errors, but still trailed by six points at 11-5.

UCLA fought back with three quick kills, but Gardini and Ramanis slammed two kills each. Due to the five combined service errors, the score remained tight at 19-15. Additional kills by sophomore outside hitter Kupono Browne, Gardini and Ramanis allowed the Cougars to reach set-point at 24-19. 

UCLA’s seventh service error of the set allowed BYU to take its first set-win at 25-20. The Cougars dominated the set with a .407 clip compared to the Bruins’ .250.

The Bruins took their first lead of the night off a BYU attack error. However, three quick UCLA errors and a kill and an ace by Gardini put BYU in the lead 5-2. The momentum continued to shift as three BYU errors and two UCLA kills tied the set at 7-7.

From there, the teams traded kills and errors, tying three times by 10-10. UCLA broke away with a 3-0 run, including two kills by David. Six errors by the Bruins and a kill by Ramanis allowed BYU to catch up, tying the set at 17-17.

UCLA tacked on another two kills, followed by three BYU errors. This put the Bruins up 22-18. Gardini battled back with two kills. Ultimately, David slammed two consecutive kills to give the Bruins their first set-win at 25-23.

The Cougars started the set with a 3-0 run, including an ace by Ramanis. The lead diminished quickly after three BYU errors and three UCLA kills. These points allowed UCLA to take the lead at 6-5.

The opponents tied two times before the Bruins managed an 11-1 run. This run featured five BYU errors and five UCLA kills, widening the gap to 19-9. Kills by senior opposite hitter Alex Ah Sue and freshman middle blocker Teon Taylor ended the Bruins’ hot streak. Freshman outside hitter Luke Benson added an ace to BYU’s 6-0 run.

This run by the Cougars proved insufficient as UCLA immediately laid down a 6-1 run to take its second set-win at 25-16.

Ramanis and Browne tallied kills to give BYU an edge at 2-1. Two errors by the Cougars put UCLA in the lead. This lead widened to 7-4 after three kills by the Bruins. However, four detrimental service errors by UCLA put BYU closely behind at 10-9.

This lit a fire under the Bruins, taking off on a 7-1 run. This run featured two aces by David. BYU followed with a 3-0 run of its own, including a kill and an ace by Gardini. From there, the next eight points came from kills until two BYU errors put UCLA ahead 23-17.

In the end, two final UCLA kills secured the Bruins their third set-win at 25-18.

Up next, BYU will play UCLA on Saturday, April 16 at 7 p.m. MST. This will be the team’s final match in the Smith Fieldhouse this season and seniors Alex Ah Sue, Davide Gardini and Branden Oberender will be honored prior to the start of the match.


Natalie Orr | Posted: 13 Apr 2022 | Updated: 2 May 2022
Natalie Orr

BYU hosts final regular season matches against No. 1 UCLA this weekend


PROVO, Utah — BYU men’s volleyball will play its final opponent of the regular season, No. 1 UCLA, in the Smith Fieldhouse on Friday, April 15 and Saturday, April 16.

With its final matchup leading up to the MPSF tournament, BYU will be celebrating its senior athletes on Saturday as part of Senior Night, honoring opposite hitter Alex Ah Sue, outside hitter Davide Gardini and middle blocker Branden Oberender. 

The MPSF Men's Volleyball Tournament will begin with the quarterfinals starting things off on Wednesday, April 20. The Cougars currently sit as the No. 6 seed, but depending on Stanford's and Pepperdine's performances against each other this weekend, BYU could move up in the rankings if they pull off wins over UCLA. The Cougars can't drop to seventh, considering they are two games ahead of Concordia Irvine and hold the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Teams that win on Wednesday will advance to the semifinals on Thursday. The championship match will take place on Saturday, April 23.

Brigham Young University Cougars (8-14, 3-7 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation)

  • Last weekend, BYU faced Stanford in the Maples Pavilion, posting two road losses (3-0, 2-3).
  • Nationally, BYU ranks No. 15 in assists per set (11.49), No. 15 in hitting percentage (.291), No. 17 in kills per set (12.14) and No. 20 in blocks per set (2.006).
  • Senior outside hitter Davide Gardini ranks No. 11 in the NCAA in kills per set (3.98), No. 12 in points per set (4.58) and No. 16 in attacks per set (8.31).
  • Out of BYU’s 22 matches this season, head coach Shawn Olmstead has had 12 different starting lineups, as the Cougars rebuild after losing five starters from last season.
  • 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. 1 University of California Los Angeles Bruins (19-3, 9-1 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation)

  • The Bruins are on a seven-match winning streak after dominating Pepperdine last weekend in two sweeps.
  • Sophomore setter and opposite hitter Miles Partain was honored on Monday as the MPSF Player of the Week and MPSF Offensive Player of the Week.
  • Nationally, Stanford ranks No. 1 in hitting percentage (.376), No. 3 in kills per set (13.26), No. 3 in match winning percentage (.864), No. 5 in assists per set (12.21), No. 7 in blocks per set (2.481), No. 10 in aces per set (1.60) and No. 13 in opponent hitting percentage (.218).
  • Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Merrick McHenry ranks No. 1 in the NCAA in hitting percentage (.537) and No. 18 in blocks per set (.986).
  • Partain ranks No. 7 in the NCAA in assists per set (10.25).