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Third-set comeback gives Cougars series sweep over Bruins


PROVO, Utah - Ben Patch and Jake Langlois helped No. 4 BYU men’s volleyball complete the series sweep against No. 2 UCLA (25-13, 25-23, 31-29) Saturday night at the Smith Fieldhouse.

“We played a much better, complete match tonight,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “One of our points for this game was to be more calm, for the guys to be a little more level-headed. At the start, being up big, you need to be a lot more level-headed, and I was impressed with the guys. I thought we did that. We made the smart plays and didn’t try to over-do it, so it was more of a complete match, and we just got better.”

The Cougars (9-2, 4-1 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) finished with a .420 clip in comparison to the Bruins’ (9-3, 6-2 MPSF) .198 hitting percentage. Patch finished with a game-high 13 kills and was followed closely by Langlois' 11. Leo Durkin had a match-high 28 assists and Wil Stanley came off the bench for the Cougars to log 10 assists after his teammate. On defense, Langlois also claimed a team-high five digs. Price Jarman and Joseph Grosh led both teams with three blocks apiece.

The Cougars opened up set one with four-straight points, forcing UCLA into an early timeout. Jarman slammed it home for another Cougar point to put them up 5-1, and BYU continued its dominant performance over the Bruins. Grosh, Patch and Langlois all took a turn recording kills, and BYU found itself up 11-4 after a UCLA service error. A monster block from Jarman extended the lead to eight, 14-6. The rout continued with help from another Grosh kill, several Bruin attack errors and a Brenden Sander service ace. The Cougars led 22-9 to record the set-high lead of 13, and when set point arrived with BYU up 24-12, a service error from the Bruins gave the Cougars the victory in set one, 25-13.

The Cougars took the first two points of the second set helped by a UCLA service error and a Langlois service ace. The lead was lengthened to three, 5-2, off an Erik Sikes dig and Sander kill. The Bruins kept the set much closer than the first, but BYU maintained an edge over UCLA with more Bruin errors and one monster kill from Jarman. UCLA called the first timeout of the set with the Cougars up 11-6, then the two teams traded points until BYU found two straight, approaching set point with the lead, 21-15. Up only four, 21-17, BYU dropped the next four points, and UCLA tied the set at 21. A Patch kill, a deflected Cougar serve and a UCLA service error all combined to finally give BYU the victory in the second set, 25-23.

UCLA jumped out to a quick 4-2 lead in the third set and would maintain at least a two-point edge over BYU until it reached four at 11-7. Despite Patch, Langlois and Kiril Meretev kills, and a Bruin service error, the Cougars were not able to chip away at the Bruin lead and regrouped by calling a timeout at 18-14. Two-straight Cougar points and a UCLA service error gave BYU some momentum at 21-18, and BYU would continue to pressure the Bruins and the lead. The Cougars got within one, at 23-22, and then a huge Jarman kill tied it up at 23. The match would see more ties at points 24 through 29, with each team trading set points. When BYU took the 30-29 lead, Tim Dobbert, who had recently entered the match, served up a ball that was hit back by the Bruins into towering Langlois and Jarman for their third block each, and the Cougars took the final set and the match in a sweep, 31-29.

BYU will next take on the USC Trojans on Friday, Feb. 10, at 7:00 p.m. PST in Los Angeles.