Ninth-ranked UCLA fell in a four-set decision at second-ranked BYU in an MPSF match played on Saturday night in Provo, UT. Scores of the match were 25-22, 22-25, 26-28, 21-25. The Bruins are now 15-9 overall and 12-8 in MPSF play. The Bruins were outhit .384 to .384 by the Cougars and out blocked by the host school 13.5 to 6.5.
In set one, BYU established an early advantage. The Bruins evened the score at nine on a kill by Gonzalo Quiroga and took a 12-11 lead on a block by Steve O’Dell and Mitch Stahl. UCLA enjoyed a 16-11 cushion following a Cougar attack error and stretched it out to 20-13 after a service error. BYU stormed back to within 23-21, but UCLA won the first set, 25-22, on another O’Dell-Stahl block.
Set two was close from the start. BYU separated out to a 9-11 lead and then upped it to 11-15 after a Bruin service error. UCLA moved within three at 18-21 after a couple of kills by Spencer Rowe and Trent Kersten. Another kill by Rowe pulled UCLA to 21-23. The Bruins were able to withstand one set point before the Cougars prevailed 22-25.
UCLA opened a 4-1 edge in set three. The score was then tied at points five through eight. BYU owned a 8-10 advantage after an attack error. UCLA tied it up at 13 on a kill by Kersten. A Steve O’Dell ace made it 17-14 Bruins. The Cougars were not about to go quietly and proceeded to knot the score at 22. The teams traded points down the stretch with kills by Rowe and Kersten helping to fight off a couple of set points, but BYU made their third try count and won 26-28.
BYU went out to a 7-9 advantage in set four. O’Dell leveled the score at 10 on a kill and the Bruins took the lead on a kill by Rowe. Another productive swing by Rowe tied the score at 15-all, but the home team scored the next four points. UCLA closed to 19-21 following an attack error, but BYU was able score four of the last five points in the match on Bruin service errors and took the set 21-25.
UCLA will play next week at Cal State Northridge (Thu.) and at Long Beach State (Sat.) before returning home to host Cal Baptist on Apr. 10 and BYU on Apr. 12.