UCLA Ends Cougars' MPSF Title Defense
LOS -- BYU's Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title defense came to an abrupt end on Saturday, as fourth-seeded UCLA blanked the Cougars, 15-11, 15-6, 15-13, in the first round of the MPSF Tournament at Pauley Pavilion.
The duo of Mark Williams and Evan Thatcher combined for 43 of the Bruins' 78 kills, while the UCLA offense hit an impressive .393 (78-19-150) for the match. The Bruins also controlled the serve, recording nine aces against the Cougars. Williams led UCLA with six aces, while All-American Brandon Taliaferro recorded three.
"We knew exactly what they were going to do, and they did it," BYU head coach Carl McGown said. "They had us in a lot of trouble with their serve. Tonight's match was all about not being able to execute the essential elements of the game.
"We weren't able to get them in trouble with our serve, so they were free to run their offense. It's no wonder they were able to hit for such a high percentage."
Mike Wall led BYU with 20 kills on 39 attempts (.308), while Matt Olsen hit over 63-percent for the match, collecting 13 kills on 19 attempts with just one error. Joaquin Acosta was the only other BYU player with double-digit figures, adding 12 kills.
In game one, Wall and Olsen combined for 10 of the Cougars 20 kills, but the BYU defense gave up 27 kills on 47 attempts (.468) and were unable to register a single block.
The Bruins kept up the offensive pressure in game two, posting 30 kills on 52 swings to hit over 46-percent. In the final game of the match, the Cougars fought back to tie things up at 8-8 after trailing 1-6 early in the game. UCLA rallied to take the 13-8 lead, but the BYU defense forced four UCLA hitting errors to the game at 13-13. The Bruins ended the BYU season with back-to-back kills from Williams and Thatcher.
BYU finished the 2000 campaign with an 18-9 record, marking the fourth straight 15-win season for the Cougars. UCLA (25-5) will advance to the MPSF semi-finals and will play either Long Beach State or Loyola Marymount next weekend.
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