March 13, 2008
Ninth-ranked UCLA could not pull off an upset of top-ranked BYU Thursday night, despite building short-lived leads and out-blocking one of the nation's top hitting teams.
BYU won 30-25, 30-27, 30-27 in 96 minutes in front of 601 fans in Pauley Pavilion. The Cougars raised their overall record to 17-1 and 12-1 in MPSF play. The Bruins fell to 13-10, 8-7. The loss snapped UCLA's three-match winning streak. BYU has won five straight.
In Game 1, a series of unforced hitting and service errors by UCLA allowed BYU to take a 19-10 lead. After an ace by BYU senior Ivan Perez gave BYU a 29-21 lead, the Bruins reeled off four straight points before junior Brett Perrine served long to give BYU the game. In all, UCLA committed eight service errors, seven hitting miscues and hit just .176. Surprisingly, the Bruins limited the Cougars to a hitting percentage of .143 and out-blocked them 6.5-5.0. But BYU had six fewer service errors and one more ace.
In Game 2, the Bruins battled back from an 8-4 deficit to tie the game at 15-15 and take a 20-17 lead following the Cougars' second timeout. Kills by BYU senior Jonathan Charette and sophomore Andrew Stewart and a hitting error by UCLA's Jeff Woodley enabled the visitors to climb back in it. The team traded points until BYU broke a 26-26 tie with a kill by Stewart and a block by sophomore Reed Chilton and senior Russell Holmes. At 28-27, BYU scored the final two points on a kill by Holmes and a hitting error by UCLA's Garrett Muagututia.
In Game 3, UCLA held an early 9-6 advantage after a triple block on BYU's Nick Valencia. But Valencia converted his next attempt to spark a 5-0 run to give BYU the lead for good. The Cougars led by as much as four points (15-11) and the Bruins cut it to one point several times, but were unable to get past their opponent. At 27-29 with UCLA's Brett Perrine serving, the match ended when his serve sailed long.
O'Malley led the Bruins with 15 kills (.483) and 16 points. Muagututia was next with eight kills, an ace and four block assists for 11 points. Perrine came off the bench and converted six kills (.452) and junior D.J. Stromatch added seven kills (.500), two aces and three total blocks for 11 points.
Three players -- Holmes (11), Perez (10) and Stewart (10) -- recorded double-digit kills for the Cougars.
The two teams meet Friday night at 7 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion.