Cougars upend No. 4 Bruins in home opener


PROVO, Utah – Sophomore Kiril Meretev finished with a career-high 10 kills in a sweep (25-11, 25-17, 25-17) over No. 4 UCLA in Friday night’s home opener at the Smith Fieldhouse.

"I thought we handled some of UCLA's big servers well and we were just in the right spots defensively," BYU head coach Chris McGown said. "We had a pretty good offensive output as well. Our guys feed off the energy of the fans and it's just unbelievable." 

Meretev finished with a .615 clip and added five digs on the night. Tim Dobbert finished with a game-high 11 kills, nine digs, three blocks and three service aces and Tyler Heap had a total of 29 assists.

Jake Langlois added nine kills and three digs, with Joseph Grosh and Michael Hatch contributing three kills each.

BYU finished the match with a .400 hitting clip to UCLA’s .139 clip. The Bruins had a total of 17 service errors and were outblocked 5-3.5 by the Cougars. 

Following UCLA’s (3-1, 0-1 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) first kill of the set, BYU (2-1, 1-0 MPSF) reeled off six points that included consecutive kills by Langlois and a service ace by Hatch to lead 6-1. The Cougars continued to extend their lead at 13-4 with Dobbert’s service ace and backrow kill. Multiple service errors by UCLA and Dobbert’s second service ace of the set pushed the lead up to 20-9 as BYU took the first set 25-11.

The Bruins got off to an 8-6 start in the second set, but was answered by a 3-0 Cougar run that included kills by Dobbert and a service ace by Heap to take a 9-8 lead. Langlois helped extend the BYU lead at 16-12 with three big kills, which was followed by a Grosh kill. A solo 3-0 run by Meretev pushed BYU’s lead up 21-15 and as it took the set 25-17 on UCLA’s service error.

After starting the third set 2-2, the Cougars put together a 7-0 run with kills by Dobbert and Langlois and a block by Grosh and Dobbert to lead 8-2. Three straight errors by the Bruins gave BYU an eight-point lead, but that was followed by a 4-0 UCLA run to cut its deficit 15-11. Multiple errors by UCLA and Grosh’s kill helped the Cougars maintain a 22-14 lead. BYU got match point on UCLA’s hitting error for a 25-17 win in the final set.

The Cougars will have a rematch against UCLA Saturday at 7 p.m. MST at the Smith Fieldhouse. The game will be broadcast live on BYUtv with live stats found on the BYU men’s volleyball schedule page.