Brigham Young University
Apr 25 | 08:00 PM
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University of California, Los Angeles
wcraft | Posted: 25 Apr 2013 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

5-set thriller advances BYU to MPSF Championship


PROVO, Utah - After going down 2-0 in the match, the No. 1-seed BYU men's volleyball came back and defeated UCLA 3-2 (23-25, 21-25, 25-18, 26-24, 15-10) on Thursday to advance to the MPSF Championship match this Saturday at 7 p.m. MDT in the Smith Fieldhouse against No. 3-seed Long Beach State.

Saturday's conference championship appearance will be BYU's first since the 2008 season.

The Cougars had three players record double-digit kills against the Bruins, led by Josue Rivera with 19. Teammates Ben Patch and Taylor Sander contributed 17 and 12, respectively. BYU hit .322 for the game compared to UCLA's .307 and recorded 22.5 team blocks to the Bruins' 11.5.

"It was a phenomenal match," BYU head coach Chris McGown said. "Both teams played really well and at a really high level. We were mystified the first two sets on how to defend UCLA. I thought UCLA was as good as I've seen a volleyball team play for those first two sets. I credit our guys with having the composure to come back with a lot of pressure. We served the ball really well tonight and we did a lot of good things at the net and blocking a lot of balls. I can't be more proud of the boys and the effort that they put in and the way that they stayed in the match and in the moment."

Video Highlights and Interviews

Both teams traded points in the fifth set with BYU taking the first lead at 3-1 before UCLA tied it up and took its own lead at 5-4. The score tied at 8s and 9s before a kill from Sander put the Cougars on top 11-9, a lead they wouldn't relinquish. BYU ended the set with four unanswered points for the 15-10 win to advance them in the tournament.

Both teams played back-and-forth in the first set, taking turns in the lead and tying the score at almost every point. With the score tied at 17-17, UCLA went up by two and BYU wasn't able to tie the set again until 21-21 after two-straight errors from the visiting team. The teams tied again at 23-23 before UCLA took the last two points for the 25-23 set one victory. 

The Bruins hit .406 to BYU's .250 in the first set.

BYU took its first lead in set two at 14-13 and was able to keep it close until UCLA took the lead back at 18-16 after a kill from Robart Page and an error from BYU. The Bruins remained in the lead for the rest of the set and eventually took the 25-21 victory.

After set two, the Cougars were hitting just .298 and Rivera's 11 kills made him the only player in double figures on the BYU roster.

Hungry for a comeback and down 2-1 in the match, the Cougars went up 6-2 to start the third set and never let up. The Cougars took their largest lead at 21-13 after a 4-1 run, highlighted by a service ace from Rivera and three-straight errors from the Bruins. UCLA outscored BYU 3-1 to finish the set but it wasn't enough as the home team took the 25-18 victory in the third for a 2-1 match score in favor of UCLA.

In opposite fashion, the fourth set began with UCLA taking a 7-1 lead. The Cougars responded with a 6-0 run, bringing the score to 7-6, and would keep it close the rest of the set. The teams tied at 19s and 20s before BYU took a 21-20 lead after winning a long rally.

UCLA tied it up again at 24-24 but a service error gave the Cougars set point and a monster kill from Patch secured the 26-24 victory to tie the match at 2-2. BYU went on to complete the comeback with a fifth set win.

Long Beach State topped UC Irvine in five sets earlier Thursday. The Cougars and 49ers meet on Saturday night in the MPSF Championship.

"Long Beach is  a really really good team," McGown said. "We're not in any way taking them lightly. We're going to have to come back with a good game plan and guys are going to have to work hard and try and figure out in short order, what Long Beach is going to try and do."

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wweekes | Posted: 23 Apr 2013 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

BYU hosts UCLA, UCI and LBSU in MPSF Semifinals


PROVO, Utah – The top-seeded BYU men’s volleyball team welcomes three teams to the Smith Fieldhouse Thursday for the MPSF Semifinals. UC Irvine will play Long Beach State at 5 p.m. MDT and UCLA will take on the Cougars at 8 p.m. MDT.

BYU will also host the MPSF Championship Saturday at 7 p.m. MDT.


The Cougars reached the semifinals after edging out No. 8-seed Hawai’i 3-2 in the quarterfinals.

BYU is 23-4 overall and 21-3 in the conference, earning the MPSF regular season title by three matches. The title is BYU’s first since 2004. The Cougars clinched the No. 1 seed in the MPSF Tournament on March 30, the earliest a team has done so in MPSF history.

BYU has been ranked No. 1 in the nation 11 of the 15 regular season weeks, including seven-straight weeks to end the season. The Cougars carried a 12-match win streak during the season Feb. 16 – April 5.

Six Cougars earned All-MPSF honors, including Taylor Sander taking Player of the Year and Ben Patch garnering Freshman of the Year. Both were named to the All-MPSF First Team, along with Russ Lavaja. Ryan Boyce was named to the All-MPSF Second Team, and Josue Rivera earned All-MPSF Honorable Mention. Michael Hatch joined Patch on the All-MPSF Freshman Team.

BYU leads the MPSF in hitting percentage (.328) and blocks (2.89).

Chris McGown is in his second year at the helm of the Cougars and has a 48-11 career record.


No. 4-seed UCLA earned a berth in the semifinals after routing No. 5-seed Pepperdine in three sets. The Bruins, who have captured 10 of their last 11 matches, improve its record to 21-10 on the season.

UCLA ended the Cougars’ 12-match win streak with a 3-0 sweep at Pauley Pavilion on April 6. BYU captured the other regular season match 3-0 in Provo. The Bruins lead the overall series 30-24.

UCLA is first in the MPSF in service aces with 1.47 per set. Gonzalo Quiroga’s 0.48 ace average is good for the top spot in the conference.

John Speraw is in his first year as the head coach of the Bruins and his 11th overall.

UC Irvine

No. 2-seed UC Irvine rallied to a quarterfinal win in the final two sets and defeated seventh seed UC Santa Barbara 3-2. The Anteaters improve to 23-6 overall and extend their winning streak to six in a row.

The Anteaters dropped both regular season matchups with the Cougars. BYU also owns the overall series, 41-12.

UC Irvine holds the top spot in the MPSF in opponent hitting percentage, holding opponents to a .237 clip. Scott Kevorken and Collin Mehring hold the No. 1 and No. 2 hitting percentage, respectively, with a .487 and .480 clip.

David Kniffin was named UC Irvine’s head coach this past offseason.

Long Beach State

Third-seeded Long Beach State swept No. 6-seed Stanford in the quarterfinals Saturday at the Walter Pyramid. With the win, the 49ers advance to the semifinals for the second time in the last three years.

BYU and Long Beach State exchanged regular season matches with the 49ers capturing a 3-2 win in Provo before the Cougars swept Long Beach State 3-0 in California. BYU has the edge in the overall series with a 25-20 advantage.

The 49ers are No. 1 in digs in the MPSF with a 9.60 average. Taylor Gregory is first in blocks with 1.43 per set.

Alan Knipe is in his 10th year as head coach at Long Beach State.

Ticket Info

Tickets are available for purchase at All-session general admission passes and reserved seating are now on sale. Individual session passes will be available starting Thursday, April 25th at 9 a.m. MDT.


The BYU vs. UCLA match will be available on BYUtv and

Live Stats

Live stats will be available on the BYU men’s volleyball schedule page.