Cougars clinch No. 1 seed in MPSF tournament with sweep at UCLA
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The No. 2 BYU Cougars have secured the top seed in the upcoming MPSF Tournament after a 3-0 victory over No. 6 UCLA. (25-19, 25-16, 25-17)
“Our hitters took a lot of high percentage swings. Wil did a great job finding good tempo for our attackers,” said head coach Shawn Olmstead.
The Cougars hit a game total .455 percentage with 30 kills, while holding UCLA to a .160.
- Gabi Garcia Fernandez: 11 kills, no errors, .733 hitting percentage, three aces, three blocks
- Davide Gardini: nine kills, no errors, .529 hitting percentage, two blocks, one ace
- Wil Stanley: two kills, 24 assists, five digs, two blocks, two aces
Both BYU and UCLA had serving trouble to begin, tallying 12 total service errors in set one. With these errors, the game started evenly matched with each team trading the lead multiple times. Stanley brought momentum for the Cougars, serving an ace at 13-13 and again at 16-13, forcing a Bruins timeout. UCLA countered their previous serving errors with two quick aces to tie once again 17-17. Garcia Fernandez followed with two more aces (21-18, 23-18), giving the Cougars an easy path to the set win, 25-19. Garcia Fernandez is now only 12 aces away from the all time BYU career ace record held by Taylor Sander.
UCLA started set two with back-to-back-to-back service aces. The Cougars were quickly able to tie after several Bruin hitting errors. Post 8-8 split, BYU led for the remainder of the set. Garcia Fernandez served yet another ace at 15-10, giving BYU a greater edge to end the set. The Cougars hit a solid .706 in set two with 12 total kills and no errors. BYU would win set two 25-16 courtesy of an Eschenberg kill.
Set three was dominated by the Cougars. Stanley had back-to-back setter kills followed by a service ace from Gardini (5-6). Next, Miki Jauhiainen served an ace to bring the Cougars up one 8-7. BYU then took control, forcing UCLA to use two of their timeouts before hitting 15 points. In set three, the Cougars hit .333 with 11 kills on 21 attempts, their most of the night. BYU never let up, taking set three 25-17 and sweeping the Bruins.
BYU and UCLA will face off again tomorrow night to close out the 2021 regular season. Match begins at 5 p.m. PDT with streaming on the Pac-12 Network.