- #3 UCLA Def. #2 BYU 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-22)
- #3 UCLA; #2 BYU 20-6 (10-2 MPSF)
- Los Angeles, California
- Box score
Los Angeles, California – It would be easy to have a let down on the road after clinching the regular season MPSF title a match before, and that may have occurred as BYU failed to take a set from UCLA in Los Angeles. It was also revenge for the Bruins, who were swept by the Cougars in Provo, as the match doesn’t affect the MPSF standings but is important for at-large potential should UCLA not win the MPSF Tournament.
The biggest differences that stuck out in the match favoring UCLA were a better block, a more aggressive serve and stronger play from the setter position. In regards to the first two, the Bruins had a 9.5 to 6.5 lead in team blocks and a two-ace advantage (although it was more so about keeping the Cougars out of system), but the Micah Ma’a effect was in full force as well. While Ma’a posted 33 assists, five blocks, five digs, three kills and two aces, BYU utilized a pair of setters and didn’t have as solid of ball location as the UCLA product.
The most indicative number to the play from the setters was that UCLA hit .400 compared to a .247 mark from BYU. Jake Arnitz (12 kills, .500, three digs) and Daenan Gyimah (12 kills, .625, six blocks) were also a piece of that and took over as hitters for the Bruins.
In the loss for BYU, Gabi Garcia Fernandez (14 kills, .435, five digs, two aces) shined, but his fellow star hitter Brenden Sander was held in check to just five kills on a .048 clip. While the Cougars found Storm Fa’agata-Tufug for nine kills on a .400 mark, it wasn’t enough to overcome UCLA’s strong play throughout.
Moving ahead, both teams will take to the postseason as BYU earns the #1 seed in the MPSF Tournament with UCLA as the #2. That could help settle a rubber match between the two, but first they will need to hold off other ranked opponents to meet in the title match. That tournament begins on April 14.
Courtesy of UCLA:
The No. 5 UCLA men’s volleyball team said goodbye to its senior class – Oliver Martin, Eric Matheis, JT Hatch, Jake Arnitz, Christian Hessenauer — by sweeping No. 2 BYU in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match played on Saturday night in Pauley Pavilion before a crowd of over 5,600 fans. Scores of the contest were 25-21, 25-23, 25-22. UCLA, which will host the NCAA Men’s Volleyball Championship in May, improved its home court record to 16-1 this season with the victory.
With the win, the Bruins clinched the No. 2 seed into the MPSF Tournament and will host a quarterfinal match against No. 7 seed Stanford at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 14. The MPSF semifinals and championship match, which will determine the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, will be played at No. 1 seed BYU on April 19 and 21.
The Bruins used a 3-0 run to grab hold of the early momentum and move into a 6-3 lead in set one. UCLA built the lead up to 11-6 after a block by Micah Ma’a / Martin. An ace by Ma’a made it 15-8 and another by Hessenauer put the margin at 19-12. BYU closed to 20-16 after an ace. A kill by Hessenauer made it 23-19. A Daenan Gyimah smash pushed it to 24-20 and the set ended on a Hessenauer / Gyimah block for a 25-21 win. UCLA hit .364 for the set and Gyimah totaled 5 kills and three blocks.
BYU established a 4-7 edge to begin set two and expanded the gap to 7-11. The Bruins battled back to even the score at 12-all on an ace by Dylan Missry and took the lead at 13-12 following a Missry kill. The score was then tied at points 13 through 17 before a BYU service error and an Arnitz kill made it 20-18. The hits by Arnitz came on coming and his kills gave UCLA leads of 22-19, 23-20 and the winner at 25-23. The Bruin senior tallied seven kills in the set.
UCLA stormed out to a 6-1 lead to begin set three. BYU came back to cut the deficit to 10-8. Swings by Missry and then Ma’a lifted the lead to 12-8. A couple of Arnitz kills put the Bruins up 17-13 and 19-15. The Cougars made one final stand and cut the deficit to two at 20-18. However after a timeout, the Bruins responded with two quick points. BYU closed to 23-21, but a kill by Arnitz made it 24-21. The match ended on a Cougar service error at 25-22.
Arnitz (.500) and Gyimah (.625) led the way for UCLA with 12 kills each. Ma’a, who had a couple of aces, handed out 33 set assists, added five block assists and came up with five digs. UCLA outhit the Cougars .400 to .247 and won the blocking battle 9.5 to 6.5. It was 12th time this season UCLA had hit for at least .400 in a match, all wins. The Bruins had five aces to three for the Cougars.
Courtesy of BYU:
LOS ANGELES – No. 2 BYU men’s volleyball fell to No. 5 UCLA in straight sets (25-21, 25-23, 25-22) Saturday night at Pauley Pavilion to conclude regular-season play.
“Hats off to UCLA for a well-played match,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmsteadsaid. “They came out and executed better than us tonight.”
Gabi Garcia Fernandez led the Cougars with 14 kills on a .435 clip and five digs. Zach Hendrickson collected five digs and Leo Durkin had 19 assists. Felipe de Brito Ferreira added three blocks and Storm Fa’agata-Tufuga contributed nine kills on a .400 clip.
UCLA (22-6, 9-3 MPSF) jumped out to an 8-4 lead in the first set after several BYU (20-6, 10-2 MPSF) errors. The Cougars then called timeout, trailing 15-8 after a 4-1 Bruin run. An ace from Fernandez got BYU back within four, down 20-16, but it wasn’t enough as UCLA won the set 25-21 on a block.
A block and kill from Brenden Sander pushed the Cougars out to a 5-2 advantage in the second set. The Bruins got back within one, down 7-6, after a block, but BYU scored the next three points to stay ahead 10-6. UCLA then went on a 6-1 rally to take a 13-12 edge. A pair of Fa’agata-Tufuga kills evened things up at 17-all, but the Bruins took a 22-19 lead after scoring five of the next seven points. The Cougars staved off three set points before UCLA eventually took the set 25-23 after a kill.
The Bruins took a 6-1 lead early in the third set after a handful of BYU errors and an ace. A Sander kill brought the Cougars back within two, down 10-8, but UCLA pushed things back to four at 16-12. A Fernandez ace capped off a 3-1 BYU run to get his team back within a pair, 20-18. The run didn’t last as a service error gave the Bruins the set and match 25-22.
The Cougars next compete at home as the No. 1 seed in the semifinals of the MPSF Tournament Thursday, April 19, at 7 p.m. MDT. The match will be televised live by BYUtv.