No. 2 Cougars drop match 1-3 at UCLA to end regular season
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The No. 2 BYU Cougars drop final regular season match against No. 6 UCLA 3-1 (18-25, 25-21, 25-27, 15-25). The Cougars swept the Bruins 3-0 last night, splitting the series one match apiece, and ending regular season play. BYU now 17-3 has secured the No. 1 seed in the upcoming MSPF Championship.
“UCLA was very aggressive from the service line, that was the change from last night.” said head coach Shawn Olmstead. “We had a tough time slowing down their hot hitters and allowed them to get loose.”
BYU scored five aces tonight up against UCLA’s nine. The Cougars hit a .287 with 49 kills and 16 errors, had seven blocks, 38 assists and 33 digs. Davide Gardini came up with his third double-double of the season with 11 kills and 11 digs.
- Gabi Garcia Fernandez: 18 kills, one service ace, one block
- Davide Gardini: 11 kills, 11 digs, two service aces
- Felipe de Brito Ferreira: six kills, four blocks
UCLA came out very strong from the service line picking up two quick aces (BYU 2-5 UCLA). Several back-to-back kills from the Bruins cemented their lead, which BYU would never overtake. A late 4-0 run by the Cougars fell short and they would end up dropping the set 25-18.
BYU was able to claim the lead in set two with a kill from Jauhiainen (BYU 8-7 UCLA). The Cougar’s defensive efforts held the Bruins to only a .143 hitting percentage. UCLA came back to overtake the lead at 15-14, causing a BYU timeout. The Cougars took advantage of this timeout going on a 6-1 run, ultimately winning the set 25-21.
The Cougars started set three 3-0 with back-to-back aces by Gardini and a kill by Garcia Fernandez. The Bruins called a timeout, utilizing both of their timeouts before hitting five points (BYU 9-4 UCLA). UCLA bounced back within two, triggering a BYU timeout. Even with BYU leading for the majority of the set, UCLA came back from an 18-24 deficit to win the set 27-25.
UCLA wrapped up the match in set four, starting with a 2-1 advantage over the Cougars. Eschenberg served up an ace to tie it up at 3’s in an effort to keep BYU in the game. Pressure from the service line, including back-to-back UCLA aces, made it difficult for BYU to get into a rhythm. UCLA would win the set 25-15, taking the match three sets to one.
BYU will host the 2021 MPSF Championship April 22-24. The No. 1 seed Cougars will take on the lowest remaining seed on April 23 at 7:00 p.m. with streaming available through FloVolleyball.